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The latest update as of February 25, 2024


NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series - Division 7

NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series - Division 7 doubleheader and West Regional

We've got a bit of a bonus to post, as our Arizona correspondent and photographic ace, Bob Snyder made the short drive to Firebird Motorsports Park (aka: Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park) for the weekend's first West Region event of the 2024 season. He captured all the alcohol eliminations action, which we are proud to present below. Captions to follow on Tuesday.

Top Alcohol Dragster - Round ONE eliminations

After a day of testing and a full day of qualifying, the 10 dragsters entered in the event were whittled down to the top eight for eliminations. While the bump spot wasn't super stout, at 5.546 (Casey Grisel), the seven cars above him clocked in at 5.388 or better. Leading the way, as he so often does, was Canada's Shawn Cowie, with an awesome 5.181 - 279.96, numbers that held up for low e.t. and top speed of the meet. An interesting sidenote was the parity of the field, with four A/FD's and an equal number of blown alky cars qualified.

Chris Demke (near lane) vs 
Joey Severance (far lane) --- Taylor Vetter (near lane) vs 
Eric Chesleigh (far lane)

(LEFT) The first pair out of the lanes featured a pair of blown cars, with former world champion (2014), Chris Demke in the Jerry Maddern car (near lane) facing four-time champion Joey Severance in the far lane. It was all over very quickly as Demke went up in smoke as soon as he dropped the clutch. Meanwhile, Severance sped down track to his quickest run of the weekend, a 5.314 - 270.27 to advance into the semifinals.

(RIGHT) Up next were a pair of Red Line Oil backed cars, with the injected nitro burner of Eric Chesleigh in the far lane, and the blown alcohol car of Taylor Vetter in the near lane. The picture shows Chesleigh leaving first, but that was due to a major (-.192) redlight. Despite the automatic win, Vetter laid down a very good 5.269-276.35 winning time, crossing the finish line ahead of Chesleigh's losing 5.403 - 264.70 effort.

Johnny Ahten (near lane) vs 
Madison Payne (far lane) --- Casey Grisel (near lane) vs 
Shawn Cowie (far lane)

(LEFT) It was all-nitro matchup next, with Johnny Ahten (near lane) facing Madison Payne (far lane) in the Duane Shields-owned "Muscle Milk" car. There was no supsense when the ambers flashed as Payne roasted the hides instantly, and coasted to an 18-second e.t. Taking full advantage of her plight was Ahten, as he put down his best run of the event, with a solid 5.329 - 270.16 flashing up on the scoreboard.

(RIGHT) The round closed with the top qualifier facing the #8 qualifier. In the near lane it was Casey Grisel in the Jerry Darien-owned and tuned A/fueler, against the always hard running Shawn Cowie in the far lane. The second red light of the round came up on Grisel's side of the tree, wasting his best run of the event, a 5.414 - 270.97. Despite the starting line disadvantage, due to Grisel's redlight, Cowie passed him before half track and motored on to a best of the round 5.208 278.35 to move into the semifinal. Cowie's run also gave him lane choice over arch-rival Joey Severance, while Taylor Vetter earned her choice over Johhny Ahten.

Top Alcohol Funny Car - Round ONE eliminations

Annie Whiteley (near lane) vs 
Will Martin (far lane) --- Madison Payne (near lane) vs 
Ray Martin (far lane)

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Brian Hough (near lane) vs 
Hunter Jones (far lane)

Top Alcohol Dragster - Round TWO eliminations

Taylor Vetter (near lane) vs 
Johnny Ahten (far lane) --- Joey Severance (near lane) vs 
Shawn Cowie (far lane)

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Top Alcohol Funny Car - Round TWO eliminations

Annie Whiteley (near lane) vs 
Brian Hough (far lane) --- Madison Gordon

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Top Alcohol Dragster - Final Round

Shawn Cowie --- Shawn Cowie (near lane) vs 
Johnny Ahten (far lane)

(LEFT) Laying down another of his patented "High C" burnouts, Shawn Cowie prepped for the final after running roughshod through the field throughout qualifying and in the first two rounds of eliminations. He set low e.t. of the meet in qualifying at 5.181 - 279.96 and stayed in the low 5.20's during eliminations.

(RIGHT) Facing Cowie was the darkhorse entry of Johnny Ahten (far lane), who squeezed into the field in the final qualifying session with a solid 5.388 pass.

Scoreboards

The odds changed quickly when the lights flashed, as Cowie chattered the tires early, pedalled, got out of shape and took out the finish line timing blocks in a vain attempt to catch the fleeing Ahten. As you can see in the photo, it was a decisive victory for L.A.-based A/Fuel team, taking out last year's #3 car in the category.

Top Alcohol Funny Car - Final Round

Madison Gordon --- Madison Gordon (near lane) vs 
Brian Hough (far lane)

(LEFT) Burning out before the final round in her first race in the Gordon family's BETA Cycles entry, young Madison Gordon was pumped and ready. Besides setting low e.t. and top speed of the meet, she also held lane choice.

(RIGHT) Both cars left together, with Gordon (near lane) leaving first by just .001 second ahead of Brian Hough. But the lead evaporated before the 60' clocks, as Hough took a half car length lead to half track before Gordon closed the gap as they ran side-by-side to the finish line.

Scoreboards

The scoreboards show the result, with Hough taking the win light by a margin of just seven thousandths of a second, in a very close finish. Despite the loss, it appears that the Gordon car is as competitive as ever, and young Madison (Maddi) is well on her way to a great career in the alky Funny Car ranks.


The latest update as of February 21, 2024


2024 Mission Foods Drag Racing Series and Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series - OFF and RUNNING!

The first of 45 Lucas series divisional events was completed last weekend at Orlando, and this week sees three more divisional races on the calendar. Those events are being run in conjunction with the first two of 22 regional events, featuring the Top Alcohol categories. Next week sees another combined regional/divisional weekend at Gainesville Raceway, as the "Baby Gators" will be the leadup to the Mission Foods Drag Racing Series national event opener, the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals.

Not to be forgotten amongst all the NHRA events is the Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series kicking off with the 66th annual Good Vibrations March Meet at Famoso Dragstrip. Northern Thunder will be there with Dale Fackler grabbing all the action for this website. Much, much more news on all these events will be forthcoming very shortly. Stay tuned!


The latest update as of January 27, 2024


Good Vibrations March Meet logo

2024 Good Vibrations March Meet

It's less than five weeks until one of the most iconic drag races on the planet fires up again at Famoso Dragstrip (McFarland, CA). The 66th annual version of the race, with continued support from Good Vibrations Motosports, will kick off the NHRA Heritage Racing Series for 2024. Racers are expected from all over North America and parts beyond. As always there will be some Canadian content with my (almost) neighbours in Saanich, the Island Nitro gang, with Phil Ruskowski driving, entered in Top Fuel.

Island Nitro team at Bakersfield

Following a tour-de-force of running the full Heritage Series schedule in 2023, spending heaps of money, burning lots of fuel and unfortunately, lots of parts, the Island Nitro team will be at the March Meet as they plan to stay in the Top Ten after finishing in the #6 position last year. With just four races on the schedule this year, two at Famoso, one at Firebird Raceway (Eagle, ID) and one at Bowling Green (KY), the travel budget won't be as onerous, which might leave some extra money for the parts expenditures.

We've got to close today's update at this point as the webmaster is on the (slightly) disabled list with a badly bruised and strained right arm due to a very hard landing on an iced-over BBQ deck two weeks ago. It's going to be a while yet before we can sit here at the keyboard for any length of time.


The latest update as of November 12, 2023


In-N-Out Burger NHRA Finals logo

SUNDAY, SUNDAY - The End of the 2023 NHRA drag racing season

Let's start today's report with the three contenders for the Funny Car championship, as it's the closest battle, with all three racers just a few points apart.

Matt Hagan - FC

Leading the way is three-time world champion Matt Hagan in the TSR (Tony Stewart Racing) Direct Connection Dodge Charger Hellcat. He's won six national events this season, and goes into eliminations from the #4 qualifying position. That earned him a first round pairing with the Jim Dunn-owned "Fireman's Quickie", driven by jack-of-all-trades Alex Laughlin. He should be able to win that race, but that might put him up against Paul Lee in the second round, and Lee has turned a series of career best e.t.'s and speeds this weekend. That could be a very tough round, and might prove pivotal to Hagan's championship hopes.

Robert Hight - FC

Also a three time champion, Robert Hight is just 12 points in arrears of Hagan, but is coming off a win at the previous event (Las Vegas), his fourth win of the season, and qualified on top of the field with a very quick 3.844 - 331.61 in the final qualifying session last night. Wearing the "Auto Club" colours this weekend, after running his "stealth" black "Cornwell Tools" body for the past two races, he's on his home track, and feeling somewhat comfortable about his chances. Hight qualfied on the same side of the ladder as Hagan, and if both advance through the first two rounds, they will meet head-to-head in the semifinals. If that happens, that could be the 2023 championship deciding race.

Bob Tasca III - FC

Starting today in third place, the "Motorcraft FORD" Mustang-bodied entry of Bob Tasca III is just five points behind Hight, and well within reach of overtaking both him and Hagan. Still searching for his first championship, Tasca is easily the most intense racer in the class, as he wears his emotions on the sleeve of his firesuit every time he comes to the starting line. He's earned three wins in four final round appearances this season, and is coming off a runnerup finish two weeks ago at Las Vegas. Qualified #6 in the very tight field, Tasca cannot meet either of his championship competitors until the final round, which could set up the most interesting and dramatic finish of the season.

We'll be back in a while with the Top Fuel championship rundown. Stay tuned for that! Until then, check out the photos from the final two sessions of nitro qualifying yesterday.


TOP FUEL - Qualifying Session #3


Spencer Hyde - TF --- Clay Millican - TF

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Mike Salinas - TF --- Shawn Langdon - TF

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Austin Prock - TF --- Antron Brown - TF

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Billy Torrence - TF --- Doug Kalitta - TF

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)


FUNNY CAR - Qualifying Session #3


Steven Densham - FC --- Alex Laughlin - FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

John Force - FC --- Blake Alexander - FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Tim Wilkerson - FC --- Del Worsham - FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Jason Rupert - FC --- Jeff Diehl - FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Ron Capps - FC --- Cruz Pedregon - FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Alexis DeJoria - FC --- Robert Hight - FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Bob Tasca III - FC --- Matt Hagan - FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Paul Lee - FC


TOP FUEL - Qualifying Session #4 (FINAL)


Ron August Jr. (near lane) vs Spencer Hyde (far lane) - TF --- Josh Hart (near lane) vs Clay Millican (far lane) - TF

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Dan Mercier (near lane) vs Shawn Langdon (far lane) - TF --- Tony Schumacher (near lane) vs Mike Salinas (far lane) - TF

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Brittany Force (near lane) vs Austin Prock (far lane) - TF --- Justin Ashley (near lane) vs Antron Brown (far lane) - TF

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Leah Pruett (near lane) vs Billy Torrence (far lane) - TF --- Steve Torrence (near lane) vs Doug Kalitta (far lane) - TF

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)


FUNNY CAR - Qualifying Session #4 (FINAL)


Alexis DeJoria - FC --- Del Worsham (near lane) vs Jason Rupert (far lane) - FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Terry Haddock (near lane) vs Alex Laughlin (far lane) - FC --- Bobby Bode III - FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Chad Green (near lane) vs Blake Alexander (near lane) - FC --- John Force (near lane) vs Tim Wilkerson (far lane) - FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Ron Capps - FC --- Cruz Pedregon (near lane) vs Alexis DeJoria (far lane) - FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Robert Hight --- Robert Hight (near lane) vs Bob Tasca III (far lane) - FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Matt Hagan - FC --- Matt Gagan (near lane) vs Paul Lee (far lane) - FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)


The latest update as of November 11, 2023


Field of poppies

Before we get down to the serious business of the In-N-Out Burger NHRA Finals, we've got something more serious to write about. Today is Remembrance Day (Canada) and Veteran's Day (U.S.A.), and all over the world there will be similar markings of the end of the first World War, "the war to end all wars". This day holds a special significance to me as my grandfathers both served in the British army, my mother in the Royal Canadian Navy (WW2), and father in the Royal Canadian Air Force (WW2). Additionally, my dad's brother, Bob, served in the air force, but was lost on a mission late in WW2. Today is the day when I remember what they did for their country(s) and give thanks for everyone who has served their country over the centuries. May they all rest in peace.


In-N-Out Burger NHRA Finals logo

In-N-Out Burger NHRA Finals - Friday Qualifying

It's going to be a slow day here as we're dealing with the first serious winter storm and have to attend to matters more serious than writing and posting photos from yesterday's action at Pomona. We will get to it but slowly. Maybe tomorrow we'll be back to full speed. Stay tuned for updates throughout the day as the 2023 drag racing season draws to a dramatic close.


PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE - Qualifying Session #1


LE Tonglet - PSM --- Chris Bostick - PSM

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Ryan Oehler - PSM --- Ryan Oehler - PSM

Steve Johnson - PSM --- Jerry Savoie - PSM

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Jianna Evaristo - PSM --- Gaige Herrara - PSM

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)


PRO STOCK - Qualifying Session #1


Joey Grose - PS --- Joey Grose - PS

Kenny Delco - PS --- Kenny Delco - PS

Steve Graham - PS --- Steve Graham - PS

Eric Latino - PS --- Eric Latino - PS

Chris McGaha - PS --- Chris McGaha - PS

Jerry Tucker - PS --- Jerry Tucker  PS

Bot Butner - PS --- Bo Butner - PS

Cristian Caudra - PS --- Cristian Caudra - PS

Kyle Koretsky - PS --- Kyle Koretsky - PS

Aaron Stanfield - PS --- Aaron Stanfield - PS

Matt Hartford - PS --- Matt Hartford - PS

Erica Enders - PS --- Erica Enders - PS


FUNNY CAR - Qualifying Session #1


Del Worsham - FC --- Del Worsham - FC

Jason Rupert - FC --- Jeff Diehl - FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Steven Densham - FC --- Steven Densham - FC

Bobby Bode III - FC --- Bobby Bode - FC

Terry Haddock - FC --- Terry Haddock - FC

Paul Lee - FC --- Cruz Pedregon - FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Alexis DeJoria - FC --- Alex Laughlin - FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Chad Green - FC --- Ron Capps - FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

John Force - FC --- John Force - FC

Robert Hight - FC --- Robert Hight - FC

Matt Hagan - FC --- Matt Hagan - FC


TOP FUEL - Qualifying Session #1


Spencer Hyde - TF

Dan Mercier - TF --- Dan Mercier - TF

Josh Hart - TF --- Josh Hart - TF

Tony Schumacher - TF --- Tony Schumacher - TF

Brittany Force - TF --- Brittany Force - TF

Justin Ashley - TF --- Justin Ashley - TF

Shawn Langdon - TF --- Leah Pruett - TF

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Steve Torrence - TF


PRO STOCK - Qualifying Session #2


Bo Butner - PS --- Alan Prusiensky - PS

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Kenny Delco - PS --- Dallas Glenn - PS

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Camrie Caruso - PS --- Mason McGaha - PS

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Cristian Caudra - PS --- Fernando Caudra Jr. - PS

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Fernando Caudra Sr. - PS --- Deric Kramer - PS

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Jeg Coughlin Jr. - PS --- Troy Coughlin Jr. - PS

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Greg Anderson - PS


FUNNY CAR - Qualifying Session #2


Jason Rupert - FC --- Jason Rupert - FC

Chad Green - FC --- Cruz Pedregon - FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Alex Laughlin - FC --- Alex Laughlin - FC

Alexis DeJoria - FC --- Del Worsham - FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Ron Capps - FC --- Ron Capps - FC

Paul Lee - FC --- Blake Alexander - FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Tim Wilkerson - FC --- Tim Wilkerson - FC

J.R. Todd - FC --- J.R. Todd - FC

Jeff Diehl - FC --- Jeff Diehl - FC

Bob Tasca III - FC


TOP FUEL - Qualifying Session #2


Mike Salinas - TF --- Mike Salinas - TF

Dan Mercier - TF --- Shawn Langdon - TF

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Antron Brown - TF --- Antron Brown - TF

Billy Torrence - TF --- Josh Hart - TF

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Brittany Force - TF --- Austin Prock - TF

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Doug Kalitta - TF --- Doug Kalitta - TF


The latest update as of November 10, 2023


In-N-Out Burger NHRA Finals logo

In-N-Out Burger NHRA Finals - Thursday Qualifying

We've got a batch of photos from Bob Snyder but unfortunately, work obligations are going to prevent us from filling in all the captions until this evening. By then, we'll probably have another batch of photos from today's action, and then we'll be trying to catch up over the weekend. Stay tuned and refresh/reload this page each time you check it out to see the additions.


SUPER STOCK - Qualifying

Trey Vetter - SS/FA --- Wyatt Wagner - SS/GA

Who says race cars don't do wheelstands anymore? CHeck out these two '68 Camaros strutting their stuff. On the left, it's Henderson, Nevada's Trey Vetter in his SS/FA, and on the right, it's Wyatt Wagner, all the way from Bonner Springs, Kansas, in a SS/GA.


TOP ALCOHOL DRAGSTER - Qualifying Session #1


Jerry Kumre Jr. - A/FD --- Garrett Bateman - A?FD

(LEFT) Cranking up the volume considerably were the "alcohol" dragsters, with a bunch of injected nitro burners leading the way out of the staging lanes. Making his first national event appearance of the season was Jerry Kumre Jr. who opened his weekend with a 6.741 - 148.41 early shutoff pass. Dropped cylinders were the culprit in the lack of performance.

(RIGHT) Another seldom seen racer - at least lately - was Garrett Bateman, in his second race of the season, and he jumped to the top of the field (after two pairs), with a very good 5.311 - 274.22 pass.

Eric Chesleigh - A/FD --- Angelle Sampey - A/FD

(LEFT) Still having problems getting all the potential out of his car was So-Cal's Eric Chesleigh, who had "dancing pipes" (aka: dead cylinders) all the way down track before stopping the timers at 5.397 - 262.39. It was a decent result, but it most likely won't be good enough to stay in the field when qualifying finishes.

(RIGHT) Taking over the top spot, with a bullet, was nitro neophyte Angelle Sampey in her third national event, bitzing the clocks with a very strong 5.234 - 274.05 to show everyone that she was ready to race.

Mitch Myers - A/FD --- James Stevens - B/AD

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Hunter Green - A/FD --- Chris Demke - B/AD

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Madison Payne - A/FD --- Matt Cummings - A/FD

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Shawn Cowie - B/AD --- Julie Nataas A/FD

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)


TOP ALCOHOL FUNNY CAR - Qualifying Session #1


Shane Westerfield - TA/FC --- Jim Whiteley - TA/FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Chris Marshall - TA/FC --- Annie Whiteley - TA/FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Brian Hough - TA/FC --- Doug Gordon - TA/FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)


The latest update as of November 7, 2023


In-N-Out Burger NHRA Finals logo

Top Alcohol Talk

With the entry deadline for the final event of the 2023 season closing yesterday, the lists of competitors have been finalized, and there's full fields in almost all of the fast categories, with the sole exception of Top Alcohol Funny Car. In contrast to the 12 entries in that class, the Top Alcohol Dragster field is overflowing, with 24 drivers on the list. Of that number, seven are running blown on alcohol, while the remaining 17 are utilizing an injected nitro combination. The field is packed with top notch competitors, including eight of the current Top Ten runners, and 16 of the top 24 in the points standings.

The weather forecast for this coming weekend in Pomona is good, with mainly sunny skies, and air temps ranging from 75 to 80 (F) throughout the event. With that forecast and the armada of strong running cars, we can realistically expect to see the quickest field in the history of the class. The current quickest bump spot in NHRA history is 5.337, first set at the finals in Pomona in 2017, and equalled at Las Vegas in 2022 and this year. Taking it one step further, the quickest non-qualified car ever ran a 5.339 at the 2017 finals. It will be very interesting, to see how it plays out, starting with the first qualifying session on Thursday afternoon.

While the Top Alcohol Funny Car field is short on numbers, with only a dozen racers, five of them are currently in the Top Ten, and the remainder of the field is sprinkled with some seriously fast runners. After the first round of eliminations, the competition to reach the final round will be intense, with the class leaders, Doug Gordon and Sean Bellemeur the favourites to meet in the last round of the season.

Looking at the bigger picture, the alcohol Funny Car class is in trouble, with participation falling to an average of 11 entries at the 14 national events this season. Only once, at the U.S. Nationals, has there been a full field with a total of 18 cars trying to qualify. At the other end of the spectrum, there were only seven entries at three consecutive races; Seattle, Topeka, and Brainerd. Despite opening the class to A/Fuel cars this season, it hasn't made a measurable difference, with just one of the three cars known to exist being competitive. That car belongs to long-time injected nitro racer, Mick Steele, and he posted a best of 5.459 at Reading, one of the three events he ran this season. At the same event, Tommy Johnson Jr. posted a decent, 5.733 to qualify in the debut performance of the Nunzio Valerie car.

There is one other A/Fuel Funny Car, driven by Julie Nataas and owned by Randy Meyer, but after two years of sporadic testing and a few appearances at Funny Car Chaos and Nitro Chaos events, but it has yet to appear at an NHRA event. Other than the three cars mentioned here, we're not aware of any others running or even in the building stage. While NHRA may have hoped that the A/Fuel combination would have increased participation numbers, to date it hasn't made an appreciable difference to the class. We can only hope that 2024 sees a resurgence in the Top Alcohol Funny Car class.


The latest update as of November 5, 2023


Division 7 logo --- The Strip at LVMS logo

Western Region Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series - TOP ALCOHOL DRAGSTER

With 17 racers entered, a number of them Top Ten runners, qualifying was guaranteed to be intense. The schedule provided two test-n-tune runs on Thursday, followed by three qualifying sessions on Friday, before eliminations on Saturday. There was only room for 8-cars in the field, and when the tire smoke and nitro fumes cleared, the bump spot sat at a very quick 5.295, held down by Casey Grisel. Sitting at the top was the dominant blown alcohol car in the world, driven by Canadian Shawn Cowie, with a third session 5.168 - 278.92. Cowie ran in the final pair of qualifying, and bumped Jackie Fricke's excellent 5.185 - 277.72 down to the #2 spot on the ladder.

Notable non-qualifiers were A/Fuelers Madison Payne and Kim Parker, and the blown alky entry of James Stevens, who finished as first alternate with a very good 5.324 - 269.24. In fact, the first five alternates were in the 5.30's, and if the field was expanded to 16-cars, the bubble would have been a decent 5.525 e.t. Going into eliminations the A/FD vs B/AD entries, were five to three in favour of the nitro burners.

Angelle Sampey - A/FD --- Shawn Cowie - B/AD

(LEFT) After making her Top Alcohol debut in the Michalek Brothers car at Dallas, she's moved into the Samsel Racing rent-a-ride. Following a semifinal finish at Dallas, she made an early exit at the Nevada Nationals, before qualifying in the #3 spot at this event with an excellent 5.223 - 270.75 pass. That pitted her against the defending world champion, Joey Severance in the first round. Severance left first but tire shake cut his run short, and Sampey lit up the scoreboard with her best run of the event, a 5.201 - 276.13 to advance to a semifinal pairing with Jackie Fricke.

That race against Fricke was a great battle, with Fricke taking a very small reaction time advantage and pounding out a 5.273 - 269.40 that wasn't quite enough to hold off Angelle's consistent 5.255 - 275.79. Sampey's margin at the finish line was less than a quarter of a car length, but it was enough to propel into a final round match against Shawn Cowie, with Cowie holding lane choice.

(RIGHT) Laying down on his patented valve spring busting burnouts, Shawn Cowie was running on mean all weekend. Starting with an "off (out of) the trailer" test- n-tune 5.187 - 275.44 on Thursday, he blitzed through qualifying on Friday with a 5.203, then a 5.193, before taking the top spot on the ladder with his final qualifying pass of 5.168 - 278.92 to take top speed and low e.t. with his blown alcohol entry.

His first round match against #8 qualifier Casey Grisel was close for a hundred feet or so, as Grisel got an .074 reaction time advantage, but Cowie's consistently quick 5.181 - 278.17 gave him a two car length victory over the game effort by Grisel. Facing another A/Fuel in the semifinals, Cowie slowed to a 5.204 - 277.60 - his slowest run of the event, but it was more than enough to run away from Rich McPhillips Jr., who shook the tires and shut off to a 10-second clocking. That set up a final round date with Sampey, with Cowie holding lane choice. Sampey gave it a good try, but her slowest run of the event, albeit a very good one, 5.290 - 268.17, wasn't nearly enough to stay with Cowie's event winning 5.196 - 277.43 pass. That gave Shawn five regional wins on the season, and set the team up for the final event of the year at Pomona.


Western Region Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series - TOP ALCOHOL FUNNY CAR

Doug Gordon - TA/FC --- Sean Bellemeur - TA/FC

(LEFT) Looking at the two cars in this section, the photos could have been taken almost anywhere Top Alcohol is run, at regional and national events. The odds of these two racers being in a final round are almost a sure bet, and this race was no different. Doug Gordon opened qualifying by slotting into the #2 spot with a great 5.456 - 267.85, just a few thousandths behind #1 qualifier, Chris Marshall's slightly superior effort of 5.452 - 265.12 in the Miner Brothers Camaro. (It's actually a little superfluous to say Camaro as every Funny Car in the pits was sporting a Camaro body. Neither Gordon nor Marshall improved on those numbers in the two later sessions, and they ended up in the top two spots, with Marshall #1.

Gordon opened eliminations with a consistent 5.468 - 267.37 to overcome a slight holeshot by Hunter Jones, and pull away to a multi-car length win, earning lane choice over the always tough Brian Hough. That semifinal match was over almost before it started, as Hough redlighted (-.059 reaction), with his two-step launch control. Gordon slowed a little to a 5.518 - 265.53, and lost lane choice to his final round opponent... wait for it.... Sean Bellemeur.

(RIGHT) With the championship out of reach after Gordon wrapped up the points chase in Dallas, the "Killer B's", with driver Sean Bellemeur were looking to finish the season on a high note. They started on that quest with the event win at the Nevada Nationals, then turned their sights to the regional event. Things didn't start well as they shook the tires in the first qualifier, but it came around with a solid 5.488 - 265.48 in the second session. The final attempt came up short though, as tire shake forced another early shutoff, leaving them in the #4 spot going into eliminations.

Facing Indiana racer Chip Beverett in the opening stanza, Bellemeur made his best run - to that point - of the event, stopping the clocks at 5.485 - 265.22 for an easy win, as Beverett left first but struck the tires early and clicked it off to a 10-second time. Despite the great run, Bellemeur didn't garner lane choice over semifinal opponent, Chris Marshall. That race ended quickly as Marshall redlighted in the torque converter equipped car, wasting a superior 5.478 - 262.85 that could have covered Bellemeur's slightly slower 5.493 - 264.65. In the final, Bellemeur covered Gordon at both ends of the track, leaving first by .033, then outrunning him to the finish line with another consistent 5.494 - 263.82 that was enough to give him a full car length win over Gordon's second best 5.505 - 266.06 effort.


The latest update as of November 4, 2023


Division 7 logo --- The Strip at LVMS logo

Western Region - Division 7 Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series

The final regional/divisional event on the 2023 NHRA calendar is underway at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Following last week's NHRA Nevada Nationals, the track is hosting back to back national and regional races as has been the norm for a number of years. The package certainly works for the racers as many of them attend both events, even if there are no points earning capabilities or championship chances for them. A case in point is Top Alcohol Dragster with 17 cars on hand, but only one of them in the Top Ten, Taylor Vetter can earn any points. Even if she wins the event, she would still remain in the #9 position. Three other Top Ten racers are on hand, but they've already run the maximum number of regional events.

Top Alcohol Funny Car has two Top Tenners in attendance that could add to their points totals, Doug Gordon and Ulf Leanders. Gordon has already been crowned the world champion and can only gain points if he wins the event, but they won't be enough to give him a perfect (850 point) season, with the oildown penalty he received at the Texas FallNationals. Leanders has already moved up one position in the standings by qualifying, and if he can reach the final round, will gain an additional spot to #6. Other Top Ten attendees are Sean Bellemeur, Brian Hough and Chip Beverett.

Qualifying was completed yesterday and eliminations will run today, starting at noon. The dragster field ended up very tight, with the quickest bump spot of the season, a 5.295, with west coast A/Fuel racer Casey Grisel holding down that spot. He will have to face the quickest, and fastest, car in the field in the first round, and getting past Shawn Cowie could be a monumental task. Cowie's final qualifying session pass of 5.168 - 278.92 served notice to everyone that he's taking no prisoners in his final events of the season. He was runnerup to Jackie Fricke at last week's national event, and will be looking to change that narrative today as he continues his strong late season charge. With Cowie and Fricke on opposite sides of the ladder it could well be another final round matchup for them.

Over in Funny Car, it looks like it could be another Doug Gordon and "Team Estrogen" against Sean Bellemeur and the "Killer B's" battle again. They're on opposite sides of the ladder, so another throwdown matchup in the final is a definite possibility. Despite being eliminated from the championship conversation at the Texas Motorplex, Bellemeur and his team are going all out to finish the season on a high note. However, one racer in particular could get in the way of that final round pairing, and that's Chris Marshall in the Miner Brothers car, formerly driven by Jake Guadagnolo. It's a torque converter car, so it has very quick reaction times and Marshall qualified on top of the field at 5.452 and would face Bellemeur in the semifinals if they both get past their first round opponents.

The race today is being broadcast on NHRA.tv and live timing results will be running on the NHRA.com website, in addition to full coverage on DragRaceCentral.com. Plus, we'll have a synopsis of eliminations and a quick look ahead at next week's NHRA season finale at the In-N-Out Burger NHRA Finals. There's already 23 Top Alcohol Dragsters, and sadly, just 12 Top Alcohol Funny Cars on the pre-entry list. All the PRO categories have full fields, and the sportsman turnout will be large at the last big event of the year.

BONUS: Our Arizona photograher, "Big" Bob Snyder is packing his bags, and will head out to Pomona next Thursday to provide us with a big batch of photos for our last feature of the 2023 season.


The latest update as of October 31, 2023


In-N-Out Burger NHRA Finals logo

Looks like it's time for Bob Snyder to start packing for Pomona. The In-N-Out Burger NHRA Finals, the final event on the 2023 Camping World Drag Racing Series schedule, is starting in ten days. It's been a long tough season for the racers, officials, and the hard working photographers and writers that provide the stories and pictures that move the sport forward and expose it to a world-wide audience. If Bob's still got enough gas in his "Road Warrior" van and his personal tank to make one more road trip this season we'll have complete coverage of the finals posted here on Northern Thunder. Stay tuned for that!

In the meantime we'll continue filling in the details in our coverage of the NHRA Nevada Nationals and the Wally Parks NHRA Nostalgia Nationals from earlier in the month. Oh, and there is one more Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event happening this week at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It's always one of the regional events with the most participation by the Top Alcohol racers and the Sportsman racers that are battling for their category championships. We won't have a photographer at the event, but with Drag Race Central.com, NHRA.com, and NHRA.tv providing the visuals and details, we'll be able to post all the event info.


The latest update as of October 30, 2023


NHRA Nevada Nationals logo

We've got photos from Saturday's third qualifying session, starting with Top Alcohol Funny Car, then continuing with Pro Stock, Top Fuel and Funny Car.

TOP ALCOHOL FUNNY CAR - QUALIFYING SESSION #3 (FINAL)


Will Martin - TA/FC --- Ray Martin - TA/FC

(LEFT) Making his national debut at this event, Will Martin has been impressing everyone on each trip down the quarter. With only a few test sessions under his belt and the Bakersfield Western Regional under his belt, he came here and ran a 5.70 off the trailer, followed by a 5.69 last night before hitting new career best numbers on this run, with a 5.632 - 256.50 showing on the scoreboard.

(RIGHT) All the way down from Alaska, veteran Ray Martin (no relation to Will) knocked nearly a tenth off his best run on Friday, hitting a 5.706 - 257.04 on this pass, but remained in the #13 position at the bottom of the ladder.

Ulf Leanders - TA/FC --- Chip Beverett - TA/FC

(LEFT) Perennial long distance award winners, if there was still such an award, the Leanders brothers, with Ulf Leanders driving, stepped up slightly to a new best for the weekend of 5.543 - 260.25. It was only three hundredths quicker than Friday's numbers, but it moved them up four spots and into the top half of the field.

(RIGHT) Indiana's Chip Beverett showed good consistency on this run, running less than a hundredth slower than his earlier 5.558, stopping the timers at 5.565 - 263.77 to hold on to the #10 spot in the tightly bunched field.

Hunter Jones - TA/FC --- Hunter Jones - TA/FC

It's difficult to believe that it's been five years since Hunter Jones made his national event debut at this event, as the car still looks like a brand new race car. While they don't run too many races each year, and only race in the western part of the country, they are serious racers and have regularly run in the 5.50's this season. On this pass he laid down a solid 5.658 - 258.57, good for the #12 spot on the ladder.

Jim Whiteley - TA/FC --- Annie Whiteley - TA/FC

(LEFT) Double trouble with double Whiteley's racing at this event. Since joining the alcohol floppers at Brainerd last year, Jim Whiteley has steadily improved, and nearly broke through for his first national event win in a funny car a few weeks ago at Dallas. Here he was off the throttle early after a sluggish launch, and coasted to a 7-second clocking. However, his Friday best of 5.549 - 257.38 left him in the #8 spot.

(RIGHT) Moving in the other direction, performance-wise was Jim's wife Annie Whiteley, as she dropped into the 5.40's with a very strong 5.465 - 266.53 that vaulted her from #5 to the top of the list in the #1 spot. Whether that number would hold up as low e.t. of qualifying appeared debatable as six very heavy hitters remained in the staging lanes ready to run.

Brian Hough - TA/FC --- Shane Westerfield - TA/FC

(LEFT) It was another good run for Brian Hough with a 5.584 - 257.83 result, but it was a tad slower than his earlier best of 5.552, leaving him in the #9 position going into eliminations. Even though he was in the bottom half of the field, his first round opponent would only be a few hundredths quicker than Hough's qualifying e.t.

(RIGHT) Since the passing of team owner Rick Jackson, the car has only run sporadically this season, but with former world champion Shane Westerfield driving, is always very competitive. It showed on this run as Shane dipped into the 5.40's with a strong 5.496 - 262.08 that solidified his hold on the #4 spot in the field.

Doug Gordon - TA/FC --- Sean Bellemeur - TA/FC

(LEFT) Already crowned the 2023 World Champion, Doug Gordon continued his "farewell tour" with a great 5.499 - 265.38 to slot in right behind Westerfield in the #5 rung on the ladder. With just one regional and one national event on his schedule before handing the driving chores over to Maddi Gordon for the 2024 season, Gordon was hoping to go deep into eliminations as he concludes his driving career.

(RIGHT) With the championship chase over, Sean Bellemeur and the "Killer B's" were able to concentrate on running hard and it showed as they virtually duplicated their previous best of the event, a 5.492, with a 5.493 - 263.37 to hold down the #3 spot in the tight field.

Even though it wasn't a full field, as sadly has been the norm this season in Top Alcohol Funny Car, the first five cars on the ladder ran in the 5.40's, while the next five were solidly in the 5.50's. Less than a tenth of a second separated the first ten racers in the field, and even the slowest car, Ray Martin's 5.706, was a competitive number going into the first round of eliminations later in the day.


PRO STOCK - QUALIFYING SESSION #3

With 22 cars in the pits, and just 16 slots available in the field, it was a foregone conclusion that qualifying would have some added pressure on everyone to run well enough to safely qualify for Sunday's eliminations. After Friday's two sessions, the bump spot was aleady down to a 6.657, and the #1 qualifier, Erica Enders was the only driver in the 6.50's, with a 6.595 e.t. The gap between first and last was seven hundredths of a second and the first four alternates were all within five hundredths of making it into the field.

Following Friday's second qualifying session, the NHRA technical department disqualified the runs made in that session by four of the Elite Performance team cars. The reason given was an unapproved modification to the wiring on the Leahy automatic shutoff system. Whether the dq's would affect the balance of qualifying remained to be seen. As a consequence of the removal of their elapsed times, the Elite cars ran at the start of the session, instead of later as would normally happen. All four racers ran quicker in that second session, and all but Enders lost at least one position on the ladder.

Jeg Coughlin Jr. - PS --- Jerry Tucker - PS

(LEFT) Leading off the session was returning veteran Jeg Coughlin Jr., already qualified but wanting to be higher up the chart than his current #13 spot. He did just that with a very good 6.630 - 206.54 to move up to the #9 spot, just outside the top half of the field.

(RIGHT) One of the Elite Performance team, Jerry Tucker came into the session clinging to the #15 spot with a Friday best of 6.551, but didn't get far before giving up on this attempt. Massive tire shake forced him to shut off and idle down track to a 13-second time.

Aaron Stanfield - PS --- Alan Prusiensky - PS

(LEFT) With the FlexJet Factory Stock Showdown championship in his pocket, Aaron Stanfield was hoping to make it a double dip as he was still in contention for the Pro Stock too. Sitting in the #10 position, with a good 6.636 - 206.73, Stanfield picked up two thousandths but remained in the same position, in the bottom half of the field.

(RIGHT) It's been another long difficult season for the only MOPAR competitor, but New Jersey's Alan Prusiensky keeps working towards making enough power to qualify. In the nine events he's attended this year, he's only made into eliminations once, and that was on the bubble. But he's out here trying to improve, but went in the other direction on this attempt, slowing to a 6.801 - 202.03 from a previous best of 6.763, leaving him at the bottom of the 22-car list.

Erica Enders - PS --- Greg Anderson - PS

(LEFT) Looking like she was on a good run, Erica Enders launched well, but ran into problems at half track and slowed to a 7.141 - 150.28. She was still holding the #1 postion however, and the only driver into the 6.50-zone going into the final session later in the day.

(RIGHT) Erica's arch-rival, Greg Anderson, went backwards in this session, slowing to a 6.668 - 205.19 after running 6.620 in Friday's first session. He was still sitting in the #6 spot at the end of the session.

Chris McGaha - PS --- Chris McGaha - PS

It's been a very tough season for the Harlow - Sammons team from Texas, as the father-son team of Chris and Mason McGaha struggled to qualify at times, and between them have rung up just six round wins all year. And half of them were from the season opening Gatornationals, where young Mason went to the final round. This run was typical of Chris's season, as a 6.668 - 204.76, three thousandths slower than his Friday number, left him in the #17 position, just a hundredth of a second short of qualifying.

Fernando Caudra Sr. - PS --- Fernando Caudra Sr. - PS

Having an even tougher time than the McGaha's is the senior member of the Caudra team, Fernando Caudra Sr.. While his sons have enjoyed some success this year, notably Cristian, who sits in the tenth spot in the standings, Fernando Sr. has only qualified four times in sixteen events, and failed to register a round win. He came into this session on the bump spot, but picked up just enough to climb to #15, with a 6.650 - 205.69 timeslip.

Cristian Caudra - PS --- Cristian Caudra - PS

The next member of the "Corral Boots" team fell back a little on performance but was still able to hang on to the #12 spot, with his earlier 6.645 - 206.76. He fell off by just a hundredth of a second, but showed consistency.

Troy Coughlin Jr. - PS --- Bo Butner - PS

(LEFT) Sitting in the middle of the field in the #8 spot, Troy Coughlin Jr. didn't improve on his Friday best of 6.623, but made a good pass, just slightly slower than his previous efforts.

(RIGHT) Near the top of the qualifying list, in #5 was Bo Butner, with a 6.619 - 206.73, fell back just a tad to a 6.623. Again, it was a consistent run and a good setup for Sunday's eliminations.

Matt Hartford - PS --- Matt Hartford - PS

Feeling the pressure to maintain his challenge for the season championship, Matt Hartford sat in the #3 position coming into the session, and finished in the same spot. He laid down the quickest run of the session - so far - with a very good 6.623 - 205.94 that was just a little slower than Friday's best e.t. of 6.608.

Fernando Caudra Jr. - PS --- Fernando Caudra Jr. - PS

Yet another consistent, but slightly slower run was the story here as Fernando Caudra Jr. held his #7 position in the field with a 6.627 - 197.54. His earlier 6.621 was just a few ticks quicker.

Kyle Koretsky - PS --- Kyle Koretsky - PS

Emerging from the seriously smokey background, Kyle "Kid Kaos" Koretsky laid down the quickest pass of the session, a great 6.609 - 205.88. He ran slightly quicker at 6.603 on Friday, and that put him in the #2 position, behind only Erica Enders and her first session 6.595 pass.

Dallas Glenn - PS

After dominating the class up until the U.S. Nationals, with four wins in six final round appearances at the first eleven races, Dallas Glenn has seen his fortunes slide. Starting the Countdown to The Championship at the top of the points standings, he lost that lead with a first round loss at the opening race of the countdown. Since then, two runnerups and one more early exit saw him come into Vegas in the #3 position, and still heavily involved in the championship conversation. He made the second quickest run of this session, a 6.610 - 205.54 that was one thousandth quicker than his previous runs, solidly ensconced in the #4 spot on the ladder.


PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE- QUALIFYING SESSION #3


Angie Smith - PSM

We only have one photo from this session, and it's Angie Smith, making her single qualifying pass to get into the 16-bike field. Even though she's still recovering from her devastating crash at St. Louis, she was able to get on the replacement motorcycle and take an easy 12-second pass to grab some points to keep her in the Top Ten in the standings.


TOP FUEL- QUALIFYING SESSION #3


Kelly Harper - TF --- T.J. Zizzo - TF

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Luigi Novelli - TF --- Brittany Force - TF

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Shawn Langdon - TF --- Josh Hart - TF

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Tony Schumacher - TF --- Antron Brown - TF

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Justin Ashley - TF --- Leah Pruett - TF

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Mike Salinas - TF --- Austin Prock - TF

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)


FUNNY CAR- QUALIFYING SESSION #3


Steven Densham - FC --- Blake Alexander - FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Bobby Bode III - FC --- Terry Haddock - FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Jeff Diehl - FC --- J.R. Todd - FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Chad Green - FC --- Cruz Pedregon - FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Alexis DeJoria - FC --- Paul Lee - FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

John Force - FC --- Matt Hagan - FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Robert Hight - FC


The latest update as of October 29, 2023


NHRA Nevada Nationals logo

2:30 PM UPDATE

We've finally completed the second round of Nitro eliminations, after a very slow first round set the day's schedule back nearly an hour. That follows on from Saturday evening's early cessation of racing, due to a sudden wind/sand storm. That stopped Top Alcohol eliminations halfway through the first round of Funny Car, and the complete second round for the alky cars. That situation caused NHRA to juggle today's schedule, and the alcohol cars won't even do their semifinals before the PRO cars finish eliminations. A closer look at the schedule reveals that the Legends (Nostalgia) Funny Car semifinal and final rounds have been deleted also.

Interestingly, the original event schedule showed the second round of Top Alcohol scheduled for 9:00 am today, with Sportsman semifinals starting at 8:30 am. Presumably, not running early in the day was based on the wind conditions, and they continue blowing strongly even though the sand is staying off the track and the wind is blowing directly down the track to the starting line, not in a cross-wind condition. So while it is cool and windy, the conditions are fine for racing.

We're still waiting for photos to arrive from Saturday's final qualifying sessions, but we're thinking they won't arrive until tomorrow. In the meantime, we'll update what is happening today during eliminations, and start filling in the details for all of Friday's qualifying sessions. We've just received a text from our other photographer, Dale Fackler, who's shivering in the stands but has managed to capture some great photos from the 600' mark. Expect them to arrive in the next day or two.

3:30 PM UPDATE

The list of possible contenders - those not mathematically eliminated - for the four PRO world championships has shortened considerably since the NHRA Nevada Nationals commenced. Of the 51 racers that entered the Countdown To The Championship eight weeks ago, only 18 remain after the second round of eliminations. Of that number, just two riders are left standing in Pro Stock Motorcycle, and in the #2 spot, Eddie Krawiec championship hopes are hanging by a slim thread. If Krawiec loses or points leader Gaige Herrara wins, then the crown goest to Herrara.

Pro Stock sees the top three contenders advancing to the semifinal, with #2 Greg Anderson facing #3 Matt Hartford in that round. Leading the points is Erica Enders, who pairs up with returning veteran Jeg Coughlin Jr., who's making his first appearance in Pro Stock since this event in 2020. In addition to the top three, there are three other racers that still have a remote chance of overtaking Enders, but they have all lost in eliminations today, and will all be mathematically eliminated if Enders takes the event win.

The nitro classes are quickly losing contenders also, with Funny Car now down to just four racers with any chance of the title, and that number could drop to three if points leader Matt Hagan can win the event. That would eliminate defending world champion Ron Capps from contention, and open up a gap on the other two racers, Bob Tasca III, and Robert Hight, competing for the championship.

In Top Fuel, there's five racers within 150 points of leader Steve Torrence after the second round of eliminations. Closest to Torrence is Doug Kalitta, just 15 points behind, and first round loser Leah Pruett, still only 34 in arrears. Below them, the other contenders are at least 100 points below the top and will have a tough time catching up before the clock runs out in Pomona, especially if Torrence can continue to ignite the winlight(s).

4:30 PM UPDATE

There were some surprises in the nitro categories, with the points leader in both, Steve Torrence in Top Fuel, and Matt Hagan in Funny Car, falling in the semifinal round. Justin Ashley took out Torrence on a holeshot, and is now only 82 points out of first place, with 20 more points available in the final round. His opponent in that all-important race will be Mike Salinas, who blasted out a new low e.t. of the meet 3.663 - 333.82, and has closed the gap to the leader to 96 points.

In Funny Car, Hagan lost to Bob Tasca III and saw his points lead shrink to just 15 points ahead of Tasca. Taking the other semifinal win was Robert Hight, who rebounded from his first round exit in Texas, and now has closed the gap to only 37 points behind Hagan. Sitting in fourth place in the standings is Ron Capps, and the worst he can be heading to Pomona is 144 points out of first place.

The Pro Stock class saw the rich get richer, as the top two racers in the standings, leader Erica Enders, and #2 Greg Anderson, both advanced to the final round. That eliminated Troy Coughlin Jr., and Aaron Stanfield from the chase, and if Enders wins the event, #4 Dallas Glenn will also be gone. That would leave just Matt Hartford, in the #3 spot, with any chance of overtaking Enders or Anderson for the championship.

The situation in Pro Stock Motorcycle is much simpler: just two racers left in the chase, with leader Gaige Herrara holding an almost insurmountable lead over challenger Eddie Krawiec. They will meet in the final, and if Herrara turns on the winlight, then the 2023 championship will be his.

Stay tuned for the final round update, coming in around 5:30 pm.

6:00 PM UPDATE

In the first PRO final, the Pro Stock Motorcycle championship was determined when season-long points leader Gaige Herrara took the win, his TENTH national event win in 2023, over Vance & Hines team-mate Eddie Krawiec. The only way Herrara can lose the championship is if he fails to appear at the season ending In-N-Out Burger NHRA Finals. And just to add a litle icing to the cake, Herrara re-set the track e.t. record with a 6.755 - 198.32 in the final round.

Over on the Pro Stock side, Erica Enders won her second consecutive event with a dominating performance, taking out arch-rival Greg Anderson in the final, and simultaneously eliminating Dallas Glenn from the championship event. With today's win she goes into the final race of the season 114 points ahead of Anderson, and 155 points up on Matt Hartford. It might not take long for Enders to eliminate those two challengers, as she can wrap up the championship by advancing past the first round of eliminations in Pomona.

The nitro classes feature the closest points battles, and the Funny Car battle got closer than ever when Robert Hight won the final round over Bob Tasca III. That brought Hight to 17 points behind the leader, Matt Hagan, and only TWO points behind #2 Bob Tasca. Amazingly, after losing in the first round at three of the five races so far in the countdown, Ron Capps still has a mathematical chance of defending his championship, but he's 139 points behind and can't let any of the racers above him get past the first round at the finals.

Wrapping up the PRO side of eliminations was Top Fuel, and Mike Salinas tightened things up in the points with his win over a resurgent Justin Ashley. With that result, there's still six racers remaining with a chance to take the championship. Five of them are 82 points or less behind the leader, Steve Torrence, and even #6 on the list, Antron Brown is 146 points and needs a lot of help to mount a serious challenge to Torrence. Closest to the leader is still Doug Kalitta, only 15 points back and Leah Pruett, 34 points behind. Both are close enough to Torrence to overtake him if he can't keep turning on winlights in Pomona.

We're hoping to have our ace photographer, BIG Bob Snyder on hand in Pomona for the NHRA Camping World series finale, providing us with the photos that tell so much of the story. Updates on that situation will follow by the end of next week. Stay tuned!

9:00 PM UPDATE

Here's the first of what we hope are quite a few photos taken from the grandstands at The Strip during the NHRA Nevada Nationals by our Colorado correspondent, Dale Fackler.

He was leading Alexis DeJoria (far lane) early, but the engine starting going sour in Tim Wilkerson's car before the 660' markers. Then the engine exploded, sending a large chunk of the body over the guardwall onto the return road. Needless to say, DeJoria won the round with a very good 3.923 - 326.16, while Wilkerson limped across the finish line at 4.17 - 164 mph for the loss.


The latest update as of October 28, 2023


NHRA Nevada Nationals logo

As promised, we've got photos from Friday's first day of qualifying at the NHRA Nevada Nationals. With good atmospheric and track conditions: not too hot, dry air, good track prep, the promise was there for some great performances. Leading off nitro qualifying, as is NHRA's custom on Friday, the Funny Cars were first out of the staging lanes. Following them were Top Fuel and the Legends Series of Nostalgia Funny Cars. We expect to have Top Alcohol, Pro Mod, and even some Pro Stock pics from Friday posted later this evening. Captions and details will be added as time permits over the next few days. As always: Stay Tuned For Updates!

8:45 AM UPDATE: You've often heard the old saying about "be careful what you wish for". Well, that certainly applies this morning, as my email inbox just exploded with 70 more photos from Friday. Looks like it's going to be a late night this evening, dealing with them. Unfortunately, we have obligations during the day so won't be able to get to the latest batch of photos until this evening.


FUNNY CAR - QUALIFYING SESSION #1


Steven Densham - FC --- Bobby Bode II - FC

(LEFT) Making his fourth appearance of the season, and sporting a beautiful airbrushed - yes, paint - body, Steven Densham, with father Gary tuning made a decent opening pass at 4.133 - 285.59. It could have been quicker but the blower hold down bolts sheared before the finish line, shutting the car off.

(RIGHT) A regular at Las Vegas events, the Bode family hot rod, with young Bobby Bode III driving ran well until he clicked it early, and cruised across the stripe with a 4.255 - 235.35 showing on the scoreboard. He was supposed to be paired with Jeff Diehl, but that team had some serious issues when they started the car and were forced to shut it down.

Paul Lee - FC

The third solo run in a row, due to Terry Haddock not appearing for this session, saw Paul Lee make one of his best runs of the season, notching a very good 3.915 - 323.97. With some additional tuning help from "retired" John Medlen, the team looks stronger than at any point in recent memory.

Blake Alexander - FC --- Cruz Pedregon - FC

(LEFT) While they don't run all the events on the schedule, the Jim Head team always runs strong when they appear. Following a strong burnout, Blake Alexander ran strong for a few hundred feet before the tires started shaking, forcing him to shut off to a 5-second elapsed time.

(RIGHT) Bannering the Breast Cancer Awareness movement, the pink car of Cruz Pedregon looked good and ran okay, putting up a 4.131 - 255.73, after an early shutoff. It's been a long tough year for the "Snap-On" team as they are still looking for the magic that they conjured up at the end of the 2022 season.

Alex DeJoria - FC --- Alex Laughlin - FC

(LEFT) Jumping straight into the 3's, the Bandero Tequila Toyota put down a solid 3.958 - 328.62 that put Alexis DeJoria in the #2 spot temporarily. With good conditions it was almost certain that someone in the lanes was going into the 3.80's during this opening session.

(RIGHT) Nearing the end of his first season with the Jim Dunn Racing team, Alex Laughlin put down a solid run to start his weekend, stopping the timers at 4.040 - 302.96 to grab a spot on the ladder.

Tim Wilkerson - FC --- Chad Green - FC

(LEFT) Opening with a good run, with a slightly early shutoff, Tim Wilkerson notched a 3.965 - 314.97 to stake his claim to a top half qualifying position.

(RIGHT) One-upping his "teammate", Chad Green in the Dan Wilkerson-tuned Mustang ran all the way to the finish line, ringing up a 3.953 - 321.73, good enough for a temporary hold on the #2 spot in the field.

J.R. Todd - FC --- John Force - FC

(LEFT) While he's still in the championship chase, J.R. Todd needed to qualify near the top of the field and win rounds to keep his title hopes alive. He made a good start in that direction with the quickest and fastest run - to that point - with a 3.909 - 329.58 coming up on the scoreboard.

(RIGHT) Running alongside Todd was the "GOAT" hisself, as John Force nearly kept pace with the DHL car, racking up a strong 3.916 - 323.81 to take the #3 spot in the order. With only two more pairs in the staging lanes, he assured himself of at least a top half spot in the first session. The gold chrome wrap on the car gave it a very different look as it celebrated the 50th year in business for one of his sponsors, Old World Industries.

Robert Hight - FC --- Ron Capps - FC

(LEFT) Almost all season the Jimmy Prock-tuned Camaro of Robert Hight has been the quickest Funny Car in the JFR camp. He did it again with a new low e.t. pass of 3.881 - 328.45 to give the last pair something to think about. The "stealth" black body with only a few decals adorning it appears to be the way to go after they obliterated the fully wrapped one in that massive starting line explosion in Dallas.

(RIGHT) Coming into the event in 4th place in the points standings, nearly 100 points behind the leader (Matt Hagan), Ron Capps knew that they had to turn up the wick and start making dominating runs again. His opening salvo of 3.928 - 322.73 was okay, but only good enough for the #5 spot on the ladder, with two of the heaviest hitters still to make their runs.

Bob Tasca III - FC --- Matt Hagan - FC

(LEFT) Keeping the colourful PPG body in the trailer as a spare, the flat black Mustang of Bob Tasca III fell just short of matching the top runs of the session. His strong 3.910 - 327.66 pass was a good one and put him in the #4 spot at the end of the session.

(RIGHT) Outrunning Tasca on the scoreboard by a thousandth, Matt "Hulk" Hagan grabbed the 3rd spot in the field with a very good 3.909 - 324.44 to start his weekend on the right note.

The final tally after one session was Robert Hight on top at 3.881, Chad Green #8 at 3.953. Ten cars ran in the 3-second zone, four more in the low 4-second area, and a total of 16 cars made an attempt to run, with Jeff Diehl shutting off before his burnout, and Terry Haddock skipping the session.


TOP FUEL - QUALIFYING SESSION #1


Kelly Harper - TF --- Dan Mercier - TF

(LEFT) Making his competition debut in Top Fuel was Arizona's Kelly Harper driving the Todd Paton owned Canadian car. Harper made an impressive opening run, 3.934 - 306.74 that saw the car drop a cylinder on the top end and start pushing towards the centerline before he wisely shut it off.

(RIGHT) Up next was another Canadian car, this one with a Canadian driver, Dan Mercier, but he didn't match Harper's heroics. The car left the line well, but lost traction before the 330' timers and he shut off to a 6-second elapsed time.

Rob Passey - TF --- Luigi Novelli - TF

(LEFT) After two decades of trying to lay down a competitive number, Rob Passey finally broke two barriers, running 3.989 - 304.05 to send the crew into orbit and made Mr. Passey a very happy man in his top-end interview on NHRA.tv.

(RIGHT) Coming out again after more than two years off with some health problems, Illinois' Luigi Novelli unfortunately rolled the beams, triggering an automatic redlight and negating what looked like a decent run.

Shawn Langdon - TF --- Josh Hart - TF

(LEFT) With a new sponsor (Future Energy Solutions) on board, Shawn Langdon launched hard, but the tires started smoking before half track, leading to an early shut off and a 4.70 - 157.23 result.

(RIGHT) It wasn't a great start for Josh Hart as he left with one cylinder out and gave up on the run early, coasting to a 7-second time. After some encouraging results in the first quarter of the season, culminating with a final round appearance at Route 66 Raceway, it's been all downhill for Hart, with seven straight first round exits since a semifinal finish at Sonoma.

Austin Prock - TF --- Tony Schumacher - TF

(LEFT) More tire smoke in the next pair, as Austin Prock lost the grip before the 660' mark and clicked it off to a 4.911 - 143.75 timeslip.

(RIGHT) Getting a little further downtrack before the tires broke loose was Tony Schumacher, but it was still a disappointing result as 4.320 - 188.57 popped up on the scoreboard. At this point, after nine cars ran, T.J. Zizzo was #1 with only a 3.910 - 262.33 and Rob Passey sat in the #2 spot.

Clay Millican - TF --- Brittany Force - TF

(LEFT) Running quicker than the car in the other lane (Brittany Force) to the 660' timers, Clay Millican started moving around just past that point, and pulled the pin to a 3.846 at only 251.06. Still it was good enough for the 2nd spot on the ladder.

(RIGHT) It was only a matter of time before someone let loose with a full, strong pass, and it couldn't have come at a better time for the David Grubnic-tuned car of Brittany Force. She ripped off a new low e.t. with a tremendous 3.732 - 335.48 to put more than a tenth between her and the second quickest car so far.

Antron Brown - TF --- Mike Salinas - TF

(LEFT) Running the second quickest of the round to this point, Antron Brown rang up a workmanlike 3.768 - 324.59 to open his event ledger.

(RIGHT) Tring hard to continue their streak of quick e.t.'s and big speeds, crew chief Rob Flynn went a little overboard on early wheel speed for Mike Salinas, as the car went up in smoke early, forcing him to shut off to a 6-second clocking.

Steve Torrence - TF --- Justin Ashley - TF

(LEFT) Four-time world champion Steve Torrence and his Capco Boys crew were looking to hold onto their points lead but didn't get the stellar run they were looking for. Leaving the line with a dead cylinder forced Torrence to shut off before reaching the 330' mark, and netted him a 7-second e.t.

(RIGHT) Absolutely needing a good result here was critical to Justin Ashley's championship aspirations and he started in the right direction with a very good opening run, posting a second quickest 3.748 - 330.72 timeslip.

Doug Kalitta - TF --- Leah Pruett - TF

(LEFT) Saving the best numbers for the last pairing of the round, Doug Kalitta blasted out a 3.709 - 336.49 to surpass Brittany Force in e.t. and speed. It certainly showed that the Alan Johnson tuneup was ready to propel them back into the top of the countdown standings.

(RIGHT) Following her convincing victory at the last stop on the tour, Leah Pruett was looking to keep her lead in the standings and she made a solid start to that quest with a 3.764 - 329.67 that put her #4 after the first session.

With the first of four qualifying sessions complete, 16 cars ran, ten of them clocked in at less than 4-seconds, with the top eight e.t.'s ranging from #8 Kelly Harper at 3.934 all the way up to #1 Doug Kalitta at 3.709. With even better conditions in the late afternoon session, a rash of 3.6-second clockings could be expected.


LEGENDS FUNNY CARS - QUALIFYING SESSION #1


Chuck Loftin - 'Motivation' - LFC

Launching reasonably well, the Billy Meyer tribute car, "Motivation" Mustang of Chuck Loftin wasn't able to keep up the pace going down track as he clocked in at an off pace 5.321 - 206.35 time. The Funny Car Chaos regular found the competition a little stronger in the Legends Nostalgia Funny Car series.

Tim Boychuk - 'Happy Hour' - LFC --- Billy Morris - 'Problem Child' - LFC

(LEFT) With crew chief Twig Zeigler finetuning the car, Tim Boychuk pushed the "Happy Hour" Camaro to a very good 4.884 - 232.31 to move in to #3 spot on the ladder. Making the trip down from Edmonton, Alberta was looking like a good gamble for the Canadian team.

(RIGHT) In the other lane, Billy Morris pushed the "Problem Child" Camaro to an even better 4.818 - 232.99 to sit at the top of the field.

Bobby Cottrell - 'Bardahl Special' - LFC --- James Day - 'Pacemaker' - LFC

(LEFT) It didn't take long for the 4.80 e.t. group to get collectively pushed down when Bobby Cottrell in the bright green "Bardahl Special crossed the 1000' finish line at 4.798 - 235.68 to take the #2 spot on the ladder.

(RIGHT) Taking the top spot with a new low e.t. for the session was James Day with a very quick 4.759 - 239.44 in the Firebird-bodied "Pacemaker" entry. The Edmonton, Alberta team, owned by Ron Hudgson and normally driven by his son Ryan, picked up James Day to substitute for an ill Ryan Hodgson and the move worked well.

Kamaka Pocock - 'California Hustler - LFC --- Cory McClenathan - 'MAC Attack' - LFC

(LEFT) Things slowed down, but only a little, when the next pair ran. The Don Nelson-owned "California Hustler" with Kamaka Pocock driving put down a decent 4.902 at a slowing 228.73 mph to grab the #7 spot in the 8-car field.

(RIGHT) Slotting into #5 on the ladder was Cory McClenathan in the vintage "MAC Attack" paint scheme, as the Glenn Mikres-tuned Firebird put down a 4.883 - 231.44 on his first pass.

Derrick Moreira - 'Nitro Junkies' - LFC --- Dave Benjamin - 'Nasty Benjamin' - LFC

(LEFT) Closing out the round was the final pair, with Derrick Moreira in the very colourful "Nitro Junkies" entry. He was running strong until the car started heading for the centerline at the 330' mark, before finally taking out the 660' timing blocks, and DQ'ing his effort as he stayed in the other lane until crossing the finish line.

(RIGHT) In the other lane, and luckily not close enough to Moreira to get hit by his errant car, Dave "Nasty" Benjamin clocked in at #8, on the bump spot, with a 4.945 - 192.11 showing on the scoreboard. There was a short delay while the NHRA officials looked at the video replay of the run before determining that it was Benjamin's car that stopped the timers in his lane.


PRO STOCK - QUALIFYING SESSION #2

We don't usually post much on Pro Stock car or motorcycle, but we've got the second qualifying session for the "Factory Hot Rods" (how's that for an antiquated term ?). With 22 racers looking to get into the 16-car elimination field, qualifying was guaranteed to be more intense. The first session saw e.t.'s from #1 Erica Enders, at 6.595 down to the bump spot, #16 Fernando Caudra Sr. at 6.676. The tightness of the field, with a gap between top and bottom of just 8-hundredths speaks to the competitiveness in the class.

Alan Prusiensky - PS --- Steve Graham - PS

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Eric Latino (near lane) vs Chris McGaha (far lane) - PS --- Chris McGaha - PS

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Mason McGaha (near lane) vs Fernando Caudra Sr. (far lane) - PS --- Deric Kramer - PS

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Jerry Tucker (near lane) vs Cristian Caudra (far lane) - PS --- Cristian Caudra - PS

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Jeg Coughlin Jr. - PS --- Jeg Coughlin Jr. - PS

Camrie Caruso - PS --- Fernanado Caudra Jr. - PS

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Troy Coughlin Jr. - PS --- Aaron Stanfield - PS

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Greg Anderson - PS --- Bo Butner - PS

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Matt Hartford - PS

Dallas Glenn - PS --- Dallas Glenn - PS

Kyle Koretsky - PS --- Erica Enders - PS

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)


FUNNY CAR - QUALIFYING SESSION #2


Jeff Diehl - FC --- Terry Haddock - FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Blake Alexander - FC --- Alex Laughlin - FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Cruz Pedregon - FC --- Tim Wilkerson - FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Alexis DeJoria - FC --- Ron Capps - FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Chad Green - FC --- Paul Lee - FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

John Force - FC --- Robert Hight - FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Matt Hagan - FC --- Matt Hagan - FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)


TOP FUEL - QUALIFYING SESSION #2


Luigi Novelli - TF --- Josh Hart - TF

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Dan Mercier - TF --- Mike Salinas - TF

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Tony Schumacher - TF --- T.J. Zizzo - TF

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Clay Millican - TF --- Justin Ashley - TF

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Brittany Force - TF --- Doug Kalitta - TF

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)


LEGENDS FUNNY CARS - QUALIFYING SESSION #2


Chuck Loftin - 'Motivation' - LFC (far lane) vs 
Derrick Moreira - 'Nitro Junkies' - LFC (near lane) --- Dave Benjamin - 'Nasty Benjamin' - LFC (far lane) vs 
Kamaka Pocock - 'California Hustler' - LFC (near lane)

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Cory McClenathan - 'MAC Attack' - LFC --- Geoff Monise - 'Quarter Pounder - LFC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Bobby Cottrell - 'Bardahl Special' - LFC


JET CARS


Terminal Velocity -= JET --- Muy Caliente Racing - JET


PRO MOD - QUALIFYING SESSION #2


Jason Lee - PM --- Kevin Rivenbark - PM

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Mason Wright - PM --- Nick Januik - PM

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Adriano Kayayan - PM --- Ken Quartuccio - PM

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

J.R. Gray - PM --- Dmitry Samorukov - PM

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Mike Castellana - PM --- Justin Bond - PM

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)


TOP ALCOHOL FUNNY CAR - QUALIFYING SESSION #2


Chip Beverett - TA/FC --- Ulf Leanders - TA/FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Ray Martin - TA/FC --- Hunter Jones - TA/FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Will Martin - TA/FC --- Annie Whiteley - TA/FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Jim Whiteley - TA/FC --- Annie Whiteley - TA/FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Chris Marshall - TA/FC --- Brian Hough - TA/FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Shane Westerfield - TA/FC --- Bob McCosh - TA/FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Sean Bellemeur - TA/FC


TOP ALCOHOL DRAGSTER - QUALIFYING SESSION #2


Joey Severance - B/AD --- Krista Baldwin - A/FD

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Angelle Sampey - A/FD --- Eric Chesleigh - A/FD

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Bob Button - B/AD --- Mitch Myers - A/FD

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Chris Demke - B/AD --- Ron Anderson - A/FD

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Taylor Vetter - B/AD --- Kirk Wolf - A/FD

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Mike Coughlin - A/FD --- Tony Stewart - A/FD

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Jackie Fricke - A/FD --- Shawn Cowie - B/AD

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Kim Parker A/FD


The latest update as of October 24, 2023


NHRA Nevada Nationals logo

It's down to the final few races of the 2023 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series and the Lucas Drag Racing Series season, with the PRO teams already filling the pits at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Qualifying for the NHRA Nevada Nationals starts on Friday morning, continue on Saturday, and final eliminations are on Sunday. There's full fields in most categories, with 22 Top Alcohol Dragsters, 23 Pro Stock cars, 19 Pro Mods, and 17 in each of the Top Fuel, Funny Car, and Pro Stock Motorcycle classes. The only major category with less than 16 entries is Top Alcohol Funny Car, with only 13 entries as the class continues to suffer from lack of numbers, despite the addition of an injected nitro option this year.

The big news this week for Northern Thunder is that our hard working photographer, BIG Bob Snyder will be on hand to capture all the action with his brace of trusty Nikons. We could even have some bonus photos from the grandstands, with our Colorado correspondent, Dale Fackler, attending as a spectator. Expect to see lots of photos over thw weekend as we try to keep up with the action. Stay tuned for updates on the event, starting on Friday evening.


The latest update as of October 17, 2023


NOTE: Click on the graphics to see larger (and easier to read) versions. Note that poss(ible) points totals in RED indicate that they are mathematically eliminated from championship consideration.


TOP ALCOHOL DRAGSTER


TAD Points - October 16, 2023

After a hard fought season, with ups and downs for all the contenders, the Top Alcohol Dragster World Championship was wrapped up in the semi-final round of eliminations at the Texas NHRA FallNationals. As the event started, seven racers still had at least a mathematical chance to take the title, but it didn't take long for them to start falling by the wayside. The first round of eliminations saw Matt Cummings, Jackie Fricke, Mike Coughlin and the defending champion, Joey Severance lose and fall out of the chase.

That left just two racers remaining to challenge the points leader, Julie Nataas, for the championship as the second round started. It was quickly reduced to one, as Tony Stewart fell to TAD debutante Angelle Sampey, while Nataas and Shawn Cowie advanced to the semi-final round. To catch Nataas, Cowie would have to get past her in that round, and either win the FallNationals, PLUS make consecutive final rounds at the final two races of the season. Very slim odds, and despite incredible back-to-back 5.12 elapsed times (5.121 and 5.126), Cowie fell one hundredth of a second short of turning on the winlight, and the championship went to the Randy Meyer Racing team driver Julie Nataas.


TOP ALCOHOL FUNNY CAR


TAFC Points - October 16, 2023

Looking to finish his career on a high note with two consecutive championships, and three in four seasons, Doug Gordon wrapped up the title in the second round of eliminations on Saturday evening. While he didn't have to face arch-rival Sean Bellemeur during eliminations, he sat strapped into his car and watched Bellemeur lose in the pairing before him. All he had to do at that point was get past a very tough competitor in Matt Gill to take the crown.

The suspense ended before Gordon launched, as Gill redlighted and shut off, while Gordon ran his quickest pass of the event, at 5.408 - 269.40 to show that he wasn't taking it easy. After taking a lucky win over Christine Foster in the semifinal, despite a broken crankshaft, the Gordon team managed to put another engine in the car - with lots of help from all their competitors - and took the event win with another very quick, 5.414 - 271.12 pass.



With just two events left on the schedule, the battle for points has reached maximum intensity for the Countdown To The Championship racers. While this coming week's NHRA Nevada Nationals awards standard points, with a maximum of 130 available, the season finale at Pomona, the In-N-Out Burger NHRA Finals offers a maximum of 191 points. To earn those points, a racer would have to run low e.t. in all four qualifying sessions, be #1 qualifier, and win the race. The graphics below don't indicate which racers are already mathematically eliminated, and to this point, none of the nitro drivers are totally out of contention, but the bottom five racers in Pro Stock and the bottom seven in Pro Stock Motorcycle are already eliminated.


TOP FUEL


Countdown to the Championship TF

It's rapidly boiling down to a three-way race for the crown, with the season-long points leader, Justin ashley, steadily dropping from the top of the list to his current position at #4. He's 108 points behind the leader, Leah Pruett, and needs a big turnaround at Vegas, and some early round losses from Pruett, Doug Kalitta, and Steve Torrence to get back in the championship conversation. The aforementioned three at the top of table are less than one round win apart and every single point available at Vegas and Pomona is absolutely critical to their chances.

Other racers that might have an outside chance to challenge for the title, like Antron Brown, (110 points behind), and Mike Salinas, (131 points out), need to go deep into eliminations to have a chance. Below them, Clay Millican won at St. Louis and went to the semi-finals at Dallas, but he's 144 behind and running out of room to catch the leaders. And last year's champion, Brittany Force has won just two rounds in the last four races to fall to #8 on the list and 165 points behind Pruett. It would certainly take a miracle to see her repeat, based on the so-so season she's had, despite some great performances, but sorely lacking the consistency needed to win a championship.


FUNNY CAR


Countdown to the Championship FC

Starting the countdown at the top of the standings, defending champion Ron Capps has fallen to #4, nearly 100 points behind the current leader, Matt Hagan. Capps has a runnerup and semifinal finish during the countdown, but two first round losses have cost him dearly. On the other hand, Hagan has been on the rise, starting the playoffs with a semifinal finish, then a runnerup, and wins at the last two races to move into a 36-point lead over Bob Tasca III. Starting the countdown in #3 was Robert Hight and he started strongly with a win at Reading, and a final round showing at Charlotte before slipping to a second round loss at St. Louis, and a very early exit in the first round at Dallas. He's still in the third spot in the standings, just 69 points in arrears of Hagan.

Below the top four, #5 John Force is nearly 200 points out of the lead, despite being runnerup to Hagan at Dallas. Below Force, there's three racers, J.R. Todd, Chad Green, and Tim Wilkerson, all more than 200 points behind and nearly out of contention. Below them, the bottom three are so far behind that mathematical elimination will most likely take place at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.


PRO STOCK


Countdown to the Championship PS

Starting the season as a five-time world champion, Erica Enders suffered through a six-race doldrum before breaking out with a win at the Thunder Valley Nationals (Bristol), as the Elite Performance flag bearer slowly climbed up the standings. She entered the countdown in the #3 spot and parlayed three straight semi-final appearances into the points lead, as the season-long leader, Dallas Green, faltered slightly with two runnerups and two very costly first round losses. Other regular season standouts, like Matt Hartford and Troy Coughlin Jr. similarly stumbled, opening the door for Enders to take the top rung on the ladder going into the final races of the season.

Hartford started the countdown strongly, winning the first race (Reading), then notching just one round win in the last three events, to drop to #4 in the standings, 108 points behind Enders. Coughlin has racked up two semifinal finishes, but paired them with two first round losses to currently sit #6 and nearly 150 points out of first place. From that point down, Deric Kramer (#7) is more than 200 points out of the lead, and below him there's only mathemtical possibilities for a few racers, while the bottom five on the countdown list are already out of the championship chase.


PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE


Countdown to the Championship PSM

The domination that Gaige Herrara showed the class throughout the season, with six victories, and a runnerup in eight races, has simply continued during the countdown to the championship. Showing a slight weakness in the first race at Reading, by losing in the semifinals that gave the #1 spot to Matt Smith must have been a wakeup call to the Vance & Hines rider. Since that "low" point, he's been on a tear, ripping off three consecutive event wins to forge an almost insurmountable points lead. In second place is Eddie Krawiec who has come on strong with back-to-back final round appearances, but is still 156 points behind Herrara, and has to stop him early at Vegas to have any chance of overtaking him for the championship.

With the injuries suffered to Angie Smith (at Charlotte), and Chase Van Sant (at Dallas) removing them from competition for the balance of the year, there's only two other riders with any chance of catching Herrara. Sitting in third place is Matt Smith, who opened the countdown with a win at Reading, but is now 174 points out of the lead. Right behind Smith is Hector Arana Jr., who has had a solid comeback season, with one win in three final round appearances. However, he's nearly 180 points behind Herrara and is on the cusp of being removed from championship contention.


The latest update as of October 16, 2023


Wally Parks NHRA Nostlagia Nationals logo

There's good news and bad news in this report. The good is that we've got photos from all of the nitro sessions, qualifying in Top Fuel, Funny Car, and Fuel Altered, plus the first round of eliminations for Funny Car. The bad news is that our hard working photographer, "Big" Bob Snyder wasn't able to stay for the final day of eliminations on Sunday. Even though we don't have pics from Sunday, we can reconstruct the racing through the NHRA.com detailed race results, and the NHRA.tv broadcast. We will fill in all the details during the coming week.

NOSTALGIA TOP FUEL - Qualifying Session #2


Pete Wittenberg - 'VFW - 'AA/FD --- Bryan Hall - 'H&H Nomad' - AA/FD

(LEFT) Our photographer loves to stake out a position deep in the shutdown area and capture some great 'chute shots, usually on a Saturday, so we start this report with Pete Wittenberg in the VFW entry. He pounded out a great 5.716 - 251.91, nearly a tenth quicker than his Friday effort, and jumped to the top of the ladder.

(RIGHT) Running alongside Wittenberg was Brayn Hall in the "H & H Nomad", but he went in the other direction, losing traction early and coasting to an 8-second clocking, leaving him outside the field in the #9 spot with just one more qualifying session remaining. With the bump spot already sitting at 6.245, and sure to drop as the session progressed, the Nomad team needed to step up from their 6.245 run on Friday.

Tyler Hester - 'Overtime Special' - AA/FD --- Michael Anderson - 'West Texas Hustler' - AA/FD

(LEFT) Cruising to a stop, the "Overtime Special", driven by Tyler Hester jumped from #6 to #3 on the ladder with a very good 5.849 - 239.95 pass, knocking more than three tenths off Friday's 6.200 - 213.00 clocking.

(RIGHT) Coming all the way from Texas, Michael Anderson nearly broke into the 5-second zone in the "West Texas Hustler", stopping the timers with a 6.009 - 225.86 to move into the 8-car field in the #5 position. As good as his run was, there were still a number of cars in the lanes capable of bumping him down, or out, of the field.

Brendan Murry - 'Runnin' Wild' - AA/FD --- Frank McBee Jr. - 'Valley Thunder' - AA/FD

(LEFT) The beautiful mult-coloured full body entry of veteran Brendan Murry didn't make it all the way to the finish line under power, and his 6.734 - 145.11 pass didn't come close to making it into the show. With the bubble down to 6.223, the "Runnin' Wild" team needed to step up big in the final session.

(RIGHT)

Bret Williamson - 'Forever Young' - AA/FD --- Tyler Hilton - 'Great Expectations III' - AA/FD

(LEFT) Already solidly qualified, Bret Williamson picked up the pace in the "Forever Young" car, notching a 5.836, coupled with a big speed of 253.47, but remained in the #3 position on the ladder.

(RIGHT) Williamson didn't stay #3 for long, as the next car down the track, the "Great Expectations III" car, driven by Tyler Hilton stayed hooked up all the way, pounding out the first 5.60 of the weekend, with a very strong 5.657 - 238.98 to vault to the top rung on the ladder.

Pete Kaiser - 'The Patriot' - AA/FD --- Shayne Stewart - 'Sullivan & Stewart' - AA/FD

(LEFT) With Dan Horan Jr. busy tuning the team's Funny Car, veteran crew chief and driver, Pete Kaiser, was seconded to steer the "Patriot". Since Horan's mid 6-second run in Friday's first qualifying session wasn't close to qualifying, Kaiser had a clean slate to work with, but only two chances to get into Sunday's eliminations. He dropped a bomb on the entire field with a brilliant 5.631 - 259.41 to sweep everyone aside and take the #1 qualifying spot.

(RIGHT) This photo could be classified as "a lot of work for nothing" as Shayne Stewart in the "Sullivan & Stewart" entry left the starting line before the tree was activated. Consequently, they received no elapsed time or speed on the run. Their Friday pass of 7.082 - 171.62 was only good for #13, and well out of the field, with just one more chance before qualifying closed.

Shawn Van Horn - 'Titan Engineering' - AA/FD --- Adam Sorokin - 'Champion Speed Shop' - AA/FD

(LEFT) The "Titan Engineering" entry of the Van Horn brothers, with Shawn Van Horn at the wheel, needed to cut at least a quarter second off their Friday run of 6.245 - 185.10, but instead, went in the other direction, slowing to a 6.484 - 167.51 to leave them #11 with several more racers to follow in the session.

(RIGHT) After a 6.223 - 209.10 first session run, the "Champion Speed Shop" entry of Bob McClennan, with Adam Sorokin driving, stepped up to a 6.059 - 213.43, but it wasn't enough to get into the field. Holding down the bump spot was Michael Anderson's 6.009 as the session came down to the last car in the lanes.

Dusty Green - 'Triple Threat' - AA/FD

After a less than satisfactory result on Friday, a 12-second pass at 57 mph, Dusty Green, in the "Triple Threat" car, ran well to half track before fading to a 6.152 - 203.86, that left him a tenth and a half short of qualifying.


NOSTALGIA FUNNY CAR - Qualifying Session #3 (FINAL)


Friday's first two qualifying sessions generated an all 5-second field, ranging from Jerry Espeseth's top qualifying 5.595 - 259.11, down to #16 Steve Romanazzi, in his first appearance in more than a decade, at 5.5953 - 232.02. With 20 cars attempting to qualify, the final session was guaranteed to be a tension-filled afair for racers in the bottom part of the field, or worse, on the outside looking in.


Brad Thompson - 'Jailbreak' - AA/FC --- Billy Morris - 'Problem Child' - AA/FC

(LEFT) Leading off the session was Brad Thompson in his "System 1" Camaro, aka Jailbreak, stepping up quite a bit from his #14 5.921 Friday best, to a very good 5.742 - 252.19 to jump all the way to the top half of the field in the #7 position.

(RIGHT) The always competitive Eddie Knox-owned "Problem Child" entry, driven by Billy Morris was already in a very good spot at #4 with his earlier 5.670 - 252.66, but chiseled a chunk off that number with a fantastic 5.601 - 257.43 to climb to the #2 rung on the ladder, trailing only Espeseth's 5.595 effort.

Drew Austin - 'Pro-Max' - AA/FC --- Cory Lee - 'The Pedaler' - AA/FC

(LEFT) Running alongside Morris was young Drew Austin, third generation driver of the Austin family. At the close of a tough season, with the loss of grandfather and driving force for the team, Walt Austin a few weeks previously, the team was hoping to close out the year on a high note. A solid Friday best of 5.845 left them in the #11 spot, but they were already down to #12 before turning a 5.874 - 242.32 that was no help to them.

(RIGHT) The intinerant nitro driver, tuner, crewman, Cory Lee made a strong 5.759 - 257.24 pass in Gary Turner's "Pedaler" on Friday. Their last shot at improving on those numbvers wasn't succesful as a 5.832 - 243.94 came up on the scoreboard. With Brad Thompson's quicker run, it dropped Lee out of the top half of the field into the #9 slot.

Jerry Espeseth - 'Atlas Testing Labs' - AA/FC --- Kamaka Pocock - 'California Hustler - AA/FC

(LEFT) Looking to back up his low qualifying 5.595 - 259.11 from Friday, the "Atlas Testing Labs" Camaro of Jerry Espeseth made a great, but not better 5.682 - 258.47 to show that they were ready to rumble in eliminations.

(RIGHT) Don Nelson's "California Hustler", with Kamaka Pocock driving, was sitting #6 going into the session, but fell back from his earlier best of 5.726 with a 5.877 - 250.74 clocking.

Jim Maroney - 'Speed Sport Special' - AA/FC --- Ryan Horan - 'Infinity Plumbing' - AA/FC

(LEFT) Starting the session in the #13 spot with his Friday best of 5.900 250.92, the "Speed Sport Special" tribute car of Jim Maroney wasted his last chance to improve, stopping the clocks at 6.448 - 163.83, but leaving a trail of foam block carnage behind him. Taking out not one, or two, but four timing blocks enroute to the finish line earned a DQ for the run.

(RIGHT) Sitting near the bottom of the field with three cars below him on the ladder still waiting to run, Ryan Horan needed to step up with the "Infinity Plumbing" Camaro. With father Dan doing the tuning, and not worrying about the dragster, young Horan ran hard to the 1000' mark before shutting off to a very good 5.774 - 235.35 to gain three spots to the #12 position on the list.

Michael Peck Sr. - 'The Instigator' - AA/FC --- Dave Benjamin - 'Nasty Benjamin' - AA/FC

(LEFT) Running in the lane opposite to Horan was "The Instigator", with Michael Peck Sr. in the hot seat this weekend, and he ran well before shutting off early to a 5.821 at omnly 222.03 mph. That left the Washington-based team in the #10 position going into the opening round of eliminations.

(RIGHT)

Cory McClenathan - 'Mac Attack' (left) vs 
Tim Boychuk - 'Happy Hour' (right) - AA/FC --- Cory McClenathan - 'Mac Attack' - AA/FC

(LEFT) In the only side-by-side top end shot were Cory McClenathan in his iconic "Mac Attack" livery (left), paired with Canada's Tim Boychuk in his "Happy Hour" Camaro. Boychuk was already solidly qualified in the #8 spot with a Friday best of 5.749 - 250.55, but jumped into the 5.60's with a very strong 5.694 - 251.63 that was good enough to close out qualifying in the #6 position.

(RIGHT) McClenathan stepped up too, turning a career best in Nostalgia Funny Car, at 5.777 - 238.30 to climb from #18 to #12 and a spot on the eliminations ladder. With just one more pair waiting to run, it appeared that Cory Mac would face Geoff Monise in the first round, with the "Quarter Pounder" team holding lane choice by almost a tenth of a second.

Steve Romanazzi - 'The Warrior' - AA/FC

Making quite a splash in his first Nostalgia Funny Car race since the 2008 March Meet, was Steve Romanazzi in his all-new "Warrior" entry, running 5.953 - 232.03 in the first qualifying session. He slowed a little in the second go-round to a 6.172 - 212.03, then only improved to a 6.058 -221.09 in his final attempt, leaving him in the #17 spot and not qualified for eliminations. A tough start to his comeback, but with three decent passes under his belt, the team can look forward to the 2024 season.


AA/FUEL ALTERED - Qualifying Round #1

Running on an invitational basis, the six fuel altereds on the entry list became five when Rodney Flournoy, driving the "Godzilla" entry, withdrew after a scary crash by his daughter Thais in her Nostalgia Eliminator One altered. Thankfully, the young woman was not seriously injured, but the family felt it best to concentrate on Thais and not race. The remaining five cars ran two qualifying sessions, before pairing off for eliminations on Sunday.


Mark Whynaught - 'Nitro Mamba' - AA/FA --- Shawn Callen - 'High Heaven' - AA/FA

(LEFT) The first pair out of the staging lanes turned into a single when his opponent broke, so Mark Whynaught pushed the limits of the 6.00-index with his "Nitro Mamba" '23 'T' altered. He came close with a 6.049 e.t., coupled with a thundering 241.93 mph speed to easily take the top spot on the list.

(RIGHT) Now running out of the Pacific Northwest (Boise, ID) is the iconic "High Heaven" '32 Bantam roadster formerly owned by the Jackson family in Colorado. With young Shawn Callen driving, the car made an on-and-off pass that stopped the clocks at 7.052 - 206.80 and put them in the #4 spot on the ladder.

Dylan Winefsky - 'Nitro Moose' - AA/FA

Running a solo with just five cars qualifying, second-generation Fuel Altered pilot, Dylan Winefsky piloted the "Nitro Moose" Fiat Topolino to a solid 6.225 - 228.07 to take the second spot in the field.


AA/FUEL ALTERED - Qualifying Round #2

Dylan Winefsky - 'Nitro Moose' - AA/FA --- James Generalao Jr. - 'Nanook' - AA/FA

(LEFT) The second session of Fuel Altered "qualifying" saw Dylan Winefsky lay down a very consistent 6.238 - 211.20 to solidify his hold on the #2 spot, while in the other lane Mark Whynaught (not shown) ran just a hair quicker at 6.228- 234.99 to hold onto the top spot going into eliminations.

(RIGHT) Running by himself in the "Nanook" '23 'T', James Generalao Jr. took the reins from regular driver Kyle Hough, who was busy driving the family's new Nostalgia Top Fuel car. He had an eventful run, using up most of the lane before getting to the finish at 7.211 - 149.30 to slot into the bottom spot of the 5-car field.


NOSTALGIA FUNNY CAR - Eliminations - Round ONE


Jim Maroney - 'Speed Sport Special' (left) vs 
Jerry Espeseth - 'Atlas Testing Labs' -(right) - AA/FC --- Derrick Moreira - 'Nitro Junkies' (left) vs 
Billy Morris - 'Problem Child' (right) - AA/FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Drew Austin - 'Pro-Max' (left) vs 
Bobby Cottrell - 'Bardahl Special' (right) - AA/FC --- Ryan Hodgson - 'Pacemaker' (left) vs 
James Day - 'Cecil Matthews Motorsports' (right) - AA/FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Cory McClenathan - 'Mac Attack' (left) vs 
Geoff Monise - 'Quarter Pounder' (right) - AA/FC --- Ryan Horan - 'Infinity Plumbing' (left) vs 
Tim Boychuk - 'Happy Hour' (right) - AA/FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Cory Lee - 'The Pedaler' (left) vs 
Brad Thompson - 'Jailbreak' (right) - AA/FC --- Michael Peck Sr. - 'The Instigator' (left) vs 
Kamaka Pocock - 'California Hustler' (right) - AA/FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)


NOSTALGIA TOP FUEL - Qualifying Session #3 (FINAL)


Dusty Green - 'Triple Threat' - AA/FD --- Bret Williamson - 'Forever Young' - AA/FD

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Michael Anderson - 'West Texas Hustler' - AA/FD --- Michael Anderson - 'West Texas Hustler' - AA/FD

Brendan Murry - 'Runnin' Wild' - AA/FD --- Shawn Van Horn - 'Titan Engineering' - AA/FD

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Tyler Hester - 'Overtime Special' - AA/FD --- Frank McBee Jr. - 'Valley Thunder' - AA/FD

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Adam Sorokin - 'Champion Speed Shop - AA/FD


NOSTALGIA TOP FUEL - Final Round (Good Vibrations March Meet)


Jim Murphy - 'WWII' (left) vs 
Pete Wittenberg - 'VFW' (right) - AA/FD


The latest update as of October 14, 2023


Wally Parks NHRA Nostlagia Nationals logo

We'd have lots of words and e.t.'s and speeds to go with the pictures but an unfortunate mis-steak with the cut and paste function blew it all up. The upside is that we have all the details recorded, courtesy of NHRA.tv, and we'll be able to fill in the blanks from this report and the second qualifying session later today. Stay tuned for that update.

And here is the update: With 21 cars in the pits, but only 19 in the staging lanes for the first qualifying session, there were going to be at least a couple of holes on the list, but a full field of 16-cars were virtually guaranteed, with two more qualifying attempts on tap.


NOSTALGIA FUNNY CAR - Qualifying Session #1


Jerry Epseseth - 'Atlas Testing Labs' - AA/FC --- Drew Austin - 'Pro-Max' - AA/FC

(LEFT) With nothing but a DNQ at the March Meet on their resume for the season, the Jerry Espeseth owned and driven, Brad Littlefiedl and (former owner) Jason Rupert tuned team were hoping for a decent pass to open their weekend. It was a lot more than decent, as Espeseth blasted into the 5.50's with a brilliant 5.595 - 259.11 to show everyone that they were ready to run hard. It came at a cost though, as a huge cloud of smoke erupted at the finish line, but fortunately, no oil or parts ended up on the track.

(RIGHT) In the other lane, the only Ford-powered Funny Car in existence ran decently to half track, before Drew Austin stepped off the pedal and coasted across the finish line at 6.003 - 202.09 that gave them something to work with.

Bobby Cottrell - 'Bardahl Special' - AA/FC --- Ryan Horan - 'Infinity Plumbing' - AA/FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Billy Morris - 'Problem Child' - AA/FC --- Geoff Monise - 'Quarter Pounder' - AA/FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Michael Peck Sr. - 'The Instigator' - AA/FC --- Derrick Moreira - 'Nitro Junkies' - AA/FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Tim Boychuk - 'Happy Hour' - AA/FC --- Ryan Hodgson - 'Pacemaker' - AA/FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Tony Jurado - 'Capitol Punishment' - AA/FC --- Jim Maroney - 'Speed Sport' - AA/FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Brad Thompson - 'Jailbreak' - AA/FC --- James Day - 'Cecil Matthews Motorsports' - AA/FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Chuck Loftin - 'Motivation' - AA/FC --- Steve Romanazzi - 'The Warrior' -AA/FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)


NOSTALGIA FUNNY CAR - Qualifying Session #2


Ryan Hodgson - 'Pacemaker' - AA/FC --- Kamaka Pocock - 'California Hustler - AA/FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Drew Austin - 'Pro-Max' - AA/FC --- Michael Peck Sr. - 'The Instigator' - AA/FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Geoff Monise - 'Quarter Pounder - 'AA/FC --- Jim Maroney - 'Speed Sport' - AA/FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Dave Benjamin - 'Nasty Benjamin - AA/FC --- Cory McClenathan - 'MAC Attack' - AA/FC

(LEFT)

Cory Lee - 'The Pedaler' - AA/FC --- Brad Thompson - 'Jailbreak' - AA/FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)


Pete Wittenberg - 'VFW' - AA/FD --- Tyler Hilton - 'Great Expectations III' - AA/FD

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Frank McBee Jr. - 'Valley Thunder' - AA/FD --- Frank McBee Jr. - 'Valley Thunder' - AA/FD

Brendan Murry - 'Runnin' Wild' - AA/FD --- Pete Kaiser - 'The Patriot' - AA/FD

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Adam Sorokin - 'Champion Speed Shop' - AA/FD --- Shawn Van Horn - 'Titan Engineering' - AA/FD

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Dusty Green - 'Triple Threat' --- Dusty Green BUGs

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Dusty Green - 'Triple Threat' --- Kyle Hough

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Shayne Stewart - 'Sullivan & Stewart - AA/FD --- Shayne Stewart - 'Sullivan & Stewart - AA/FD


The latest update as of October 13, 2023


Wally Parks NHRA Nostlagia Nationals logo

Just a few shots from the test 'n' tune session for the fuel cars at the Wally Parks NHRA Nationals on Thursday. Much, much more to come.


THURSDAY TEST 'n' TUNE


Adam Sorokin - 'Champion Speed Shop --- Tyler Hilton - 'Great Expectations III' - AA/FD

(LEFT) Adam Sorokin - 'Champion Speed Shop" - AA/FD

(RIGHT) Tyler Hilton - 'Great Expectations III' - AA/FD

Tyler Hester - 'Overtime Special' - AA/FD --- Brendan Murry - 'Runnin' Wild' - AA/FD

(LEFT) Tyler Hester - 'Overtime Special' - AA/FD

(RIGHT) Brendan Murry - 'Runnin' Wild' - AA/FD

Tim Boychuk - AA/FC --- Kamaka Pococok - AA/FC

(LEFT) Tim Boychuk - 'Happy Hour' - AA/FC

(RIGHT) Kamaka Pococok - 'California Hustler' - AA/FC

Ryan Hodgson - AA/FC --- Billy Morris - AA/FC

(LEFT) Ryan Hodgson - 'Pacemaker' - AA/FC

(RIGHT) Billy Morris - 'Problem Child' - AA/FC

Jerry Espeseth - 'Atlas Testing Labs' - AA/FC --- Chuck Loftin - AA/FC

(LEFT) Jerry Espeseth - 'Atlas Testing Labs' - AA/FC

(RIGHT) Chuck Loftin - 'Motivation' - AA/FC

Tommy Shiffilea - 7.0 PRO

Tommy Shiffilea - 7.0 PRO


The latest update as of October 9, 2023


HAPPY THANKSGIVING DAY in Canada

Canadians have a headstart on Thanksgiving, coming in early to mid-October, instead of the late November version in the United States. The early date probably has something to do with our climate, which starts to turn into winter a litte earlier than our neighbours down south. Of course, where our "headquarters" is located, near Victoria, BC, it never really gets wintery, with only occasional snowfalls and temperatures dipping below freezing. Despite that climate anomaly, it's a cool autumn day here, just perfect for spending the day roasting a turkey and sharing a great meal with friends and relatives.


The latest update as of October 8, 2023


There wasn't an NHRA national event this weekend, for the first time in four weeks, but the Countdown to The Championship(s) moves past the halfway point with this coming week's Texas NHRA FallNationals at the Texas Motorplex. This week wasn't an off week for the PRO Sportsman racers though, as two of the final three regional events of the Lucas Drag Racing Series season went off at St. Louis (Central Region) and Bakersfield (West Region). While Top Alcohol Dragster saw only minor changes, the big news came out of Top Alcohol Funny Car. Read on to find out what happened... and just as importantly... what happens next.

NOTE: Click on the graphics to see larger (and easier to read) versions. Note that poss(ible) points totals in RED indicate that they are mathematically eliminated from championship consideration.


TAD Points - October 8, 2023

The biggest change in the Top Alcohol Dragster standings was the points deduction for Tony Stewart, following his disqualification at the betway NHRA Carolina Nationals. He received zero points for that event - non-waivable - forcing him to waive the 42 points received for his second round loss at the DODGE Power Brokers U.S. Nationals. That points loss left him 63 points behind the leader, Julie Nataas, with only two events left to improve his points total, while Nataas has three possible national events left on her schedule.

With that advantage, Nataas could virtually clinch the championship if she can reach the final round at the Motorplex, but she's got almost all of the Top Ten racers, eight of them, to contend with. With such a loaded field, it's going to be difficult for any of her challengers to close the points gap, but an early exit for Nataas could change the entire complexion of the points chase. Suffice to say, it's going to be the most interesting race of the season - so far - with great performances expected from the seven racers still in mathematical contention for the 2023 TAD crown.


TAFC Points - October 8, 2023

In sharp contrast to the dragster battle, the Funny Car championship chase has boiled down to a head-to-head battle between two-time and defending champion Doug Gordon, and three-time champ Greg Bellemeur. In a surprise move, Gordon ran at the St. Louis regional last weekend, and took him the win over Bob McCosh Jr. to open up a 42-point lead over Bellemeur. While strengthening his position in the standings, Gordon could still "run the table" for a perfect 850-point season with wins at two of the last three national events and the final regional event at Las Vegas.

To catch Gordon, the "Killer B's" team will need some clutch performances in their final two events, starting at the FallNationals. To make that task more difficult, seven of the top eight cars in the standings will be in attendance, all of them fully capable of outrunning Bellemeur or Gordon. Although none of the other racers have even a mathematical chance of taking the championship, they will still be racing hard.


The latest update as of October 3, 2023


Good Vibrations March Meet 2024 logo

It mnight appear that we're jumping ahead quite a bit, but Famoso Dragstrip put out a media release last Saturday, explaining the date change (from the originally scheduled March 7 - 10) to a week earlier. When the NHRA released their 2024 Camping World Drag Racing Series schedule at the end of August, the season opening Gatornationals event fell on the same dates as the March Meet, which necessitated the change. "The full list of equipment and personnel that is necessary to properly put on the event would not have been available" said Blake Bowser, Vice President of Famoso Dragstrip.

He went on to state "The Gatornationals are held in Florida and the two events could co-exist, but numerous vendors, racers, crew chiefs, media sources, and dignitaries would not have been available to attend on the previously announced date. This date change allows for all the parts and pieces to be in place, and for Famoso to put on a complete quality and professional show."

So there you have it. Aside from the date change it's all systems go for the 63rd running of the Good Vibrations March Meet. In other Famoso news, there is the second to last NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Western Regional of the 2023 season running this coming weekend, and following hot on its heels the following week is the Wally Parks NHRA Nostalgia Nationals, the final event of the Hot Rod Heritage Series season. Even though the Nostalgia Funny Car title is wrapped up, and the Nostalgia Top Fuel championship all but decided, there will be some great racing to close out the year. And we've got BIG Bob Snyder loading up his cameras and heading west to Bakersfield to capture it all for Northern Thunder.


The latest update as of October 2, 2023


NHRA Midwest Nationals logo

It was another busy weekend in NHRA drag racing, with the Camping World Series on stage at St. Louis' (Madison, IL) World Wide Technology Raceway with the 12th annual NHRA Midwest Nationals. There were a few upsets, some sure bets, and numerous changes in the points standings, as the Countdown To The Championship reached the halfway point for 2023. Just three races remain on the calendar, starting with next week's Texas NHRA FallNationals at the Texas Motorplex. While only a few racers have been mathematically eliminated from championship contention at this point, the field of serious challengers for the season title will seriously narrow at the conclusion of the FallNationals.

We've also presented the latest updated standings for the Top Alcohol categories following their Eastern Regional event at Virginia Motorsports Park last weekend. There were a few moves in those standings, with the most important one in Top Alcohol Funny Car. Scroll down to see what happened.

NOTE: Click on the graphics to see larger (and easier to read) versions


Countdown to the Championship TF

After back-to-back wins at the first two events of the countdown, Doug Kalitta took a bit of a tumble, going up in smoke in the second round of eliminations. Taking advantage of his plight was Leah Pruett, who went all the way to the final before losing to Clay Millican. With her runnerup finish, after semifinal results in the first two races, Pruett moved to #2 in the standings, just 47 points behind Kalitta. After consecutive first round losses, Millican jumped three spots, from #11 to #8, but is still very much a longshot for the title, being 152 points out of the lead, with just 12 rounds of racing remaining on the schedule.

Defending series champion, Steve Torrence advanced to the semifinals where he lost to Pruett and fell one spot to #3, but only 51 points out of the lead. The points leader following the U.S. Nationals, Justin Ashley continued to struggle, losing to Torrence in the second round by just .001 of a second, and dropped one more spot to #4, and 71 points behind Kalitta. The hottest driver in the class following wins at Brainerd and Indy, Antron Brown suffered his third straight second-round loss and remained in the #5 spot, but well within striking distance of the lead, less than 100 points behind.


Countdown to the Championship FC

Despite going out in the semifinal round after winning at Charlotte, Bob Tasca IIIRobert Hight lost in the second round and fell to #3 in the standings. Moving past him was the St. Louis winner, Matt Hagan, who now sits just 11 points out of the lead, while Hight is only 14 points behind. Runnerup Ron Capps reamined in the #4 spot, just 31 points behind Tasca, making for a very tight four driver grouping at the top of the points table.

In the #5 spot, and 150 points out of the lead, following back-to-back first round exits, is Chad Green, and below him the numbers drop off all the way down to Cruz Pedregon at the bottom of the Countdown list, 259 points behind and nearly out of chances to contend for another world championship.


Countdown to the Championship PS

It's been a long slow climb towards the top for the defending world champion Erica Enders, but she's finally back in her accustomed #1 position following another (three in a row) semifinal finish at St. Louis. Aiding her was a first round loss by the leader coming into the latest race, Matt Hartford, who fell from the top to #3. Jumping over him into second place was the suddenly resurgent Greg Anderson who chalked up his second consecutive event win to move within 25 points of Enders. Going in the other direction was the points leader since the Winternationals, Dallas Glenn, who lost in the opening round of eliminations for the second time in three races and has fallen 64 points out of the lead in the #4 spot.

Just below Glenn in the standings, Aaron Stanfield finished runnerup to Anderson on Sunday and picked up one spot to #5, and 74 points from the top of the charts. Below Stanfield the points totals start to drop substantially, with #8 Kyle Koretsky 145 points behind Enders and rapidly falling out of contention for a serious shot at the championship. Below him the numbers really dive down to the bottom of the 16-driver countdown list, where Fernando Caudra Sr. sits 361 points out of first place, and all but mathematically eliminated from the race.


Countdown to the Championship PSM

The Pro Stock Motorcycle category is the only class with a very large margin between first and second, as Gaige Herrara earned his eight win of the season, in just 12 races to stretch his lead over #2 Matt Smith to 99 points. Hanging tough in the #3 and #4 positions respectively are Hector Aran Jr. and Eddie Krawiec, but both are well back, with Krawiec nearly 130 points behind Herrara. Below him, the next racer on the list, Chase Van Sant, is more than 200 points behind, despite consecutive semifinal finishes.

With serious contender Angie Smith out of competition for the season, following her unfortunate accident at St. Louis, the six riders below her in the standings are all well out of contention, with #7 Jianna Evaristo already 260 points behind, and at the bottom of the countdown list, Ryan Oehler is more than 400 points behind and already mathematically eliminated.


TAD Points Standings as of October 2, 2023

Two of the Top Ten racers competed at the Eastern Regional on the weekend, but only one Matt Cummings is still in contention for the championship. He took the event win at Virgina, gaining 21 points in the process, and closing the gap to leader Julie Nataas to 87 points. Next week's Texas NHRA FallNationals could be the pivotal event for the dragsters, with seven of the top eight in attendance. The only one not entered is Tony Stewart who can still claim points at two more national events, and may let the other contenders slug it out at Dallas.

As can be seen from the graphic, only seven racers are still in contention for the championship, and one of them, Jackie Fricke is hanging onto a very slim one point mathematical chance. Unless Nataas goes out early, the number of racers with a chance to overtake her could be seriously diminished going into the final two national and one regional event of the season.


TAFC Points Standings as of October 2, 2023

The big news for the Funny Cars was the Killer B's win at Virginia, as Sean Bellemeur gained enough points to move into a tie for the lead with Doug Gordon. Taking the runnerup spot was D.J. Cox Jr., but he's already been eliminated from championship contention. It's now down to a four-way race for the title, with the #3 (Bob McCosh, and #4 (Matt Gill), racers very close to the elimination precipice. All four of them will be in Dallas and unless Gordon and Bellemeur are eliminated in the first round, it's going to end up being a two-way race to the finish, with Gordon holding a slight edge. He has three claimable national events remaining, while Bellemeur has just two. Of course, Bellemeur will almost certainly be attending all three events down the home stretch.


The latest update as of September 26, 2023


It's been quite a while since this page has been updated, but we've got the latest points standings and projections following the betway NHRA Carolina Nationals at ZMAX Dragway (Charlotte, NC) on the weekend. There were some serious shifts in the standings, with some teams falling early in eliminations, and others gaining momentum towards the various championships. There were a few upsets and one major shocker, a rules infraction, that could have a major effect on the Top Alcohol Dragster title for 2023. However, let's start at the top, with TOP FUEL, and work our way down to the Top Alcohol ranks.


Countdown to the Championship TF

There were two competing stories in play at Charlotte, with the four-time (2018-2021) Camping World Top Fuel champion, Steve Torrence, and season-long points leader, Justin Ashley, both falling by the wayside in the opening round of eliminations. Neither qualified in a strong position, 12th and 7th, respectively, pitting them against tough opponents and ultimately costing them a chance to grab some much-needed points. Taking full advantage of their predicaments was the new points leader, Doug Kalitta, who finally has a consistently quick car under him. After nearly two years of disappointing performances, the tuning braintrust of Alan Johnson and Brian Husen found the magic the team had been lacking. It's possible that parking the canopy car due to damage suffered when a tire blew at the conclusion of a run at the Reading event, and replacing it with a different, open cockpit chassis, could have contributed to the turnaround for the Kalitta Motosports team.

Aside from Kalitta's three position jump to the #1 spot, the other Kalitta car, driven by Shawn Langdon climbed two spots to #9 on the list, but still 183 points in arrears of Doug's total. With four races remaining on the calendar that would require at least eight more round wins, PLUS qualifying and bonus points to overtake Kalitta for the championship. In the #2 spot now is Torrence, 63 points behind Kalitta, while Ashley is five further back at 68 points behind. Both racers can certainly make that up as it would be surprising to see Kalitta win this coming weekend in St. Louis, for a "hat-trick" of wins. Possibble, but unlikely.

In case you're wondering, the defending (and two-time) series champion, Brittany Force, has advanced past the first round at both countdown races, but failed to advance further in eliminations. After starting the "playoffs" in the #5 poistion, she has fallen to #6 on the list, 106 points behind Kalitta. She needs to make a serious run at St. Louis, or her championship aspirations could be evaporating quickly.

The one other BIG bit of news from ZMAX concerned the #7 racer on the list, Mike Salinas, as he became the first wheel-driven race car driver to exceed 300 mph in the 1/8-mile (660 feet) distance, recording a 2.936 - 300.80 at the "half-track" timers, before stopping the clocks with a top qualifying 3.647 - 388.00 at the 1000-ft finish line. The run earned the Scrappers Racing a $30,000 bonus from the Phillips Connect company for being the first to break the 300-mph barrier at the 1/8-th mile timers. Despite the great performances and a runnerup finish, Salinas remained in the 7th position on the chart, partly due to his first round loss at Reading. He's 119 points behind Kalitta heading into the NHRA Midwest Nationals.


Countdown to the Championship FC

It's turning into quite a battle in Funny Car, with the top four drivers separated by less than 70 points. The 2022 series champion, Ron Capps, entered the countdown in the top spot, but his first round loss at Charlotte saw him drop all the way to #4 in the standings, 69 points behind the leader. Moving up the charts with an event win at Reading, and a final round appearance at Charlotte, Robert Hight has taken over the points lead, but only 25 markers ahead of the Carolina Nationals winner, Bob Tasca III. Tasca began the countdown in the #4 spot, but has moved ahead of Capps and Matt Hagan to make a serious statement in the championship debate.

With consecutive first round losses, J.R. Todd has fallen from #5 to #8 in the standings, and is 176 points behind Hight, barely hanging on to any hope for a category title this year. Following the U.S. Nationals, Todd sat #5 on the list, only 56 points behind Capps, and well within striking distance of the lead. Three weeks later that hope has all but disappeared. The fifth racer in the current standings, Chad Green, followed up a runner-up finish at Reading with a first round exit at Charlotte that saw his deficit to the points leader grow from 65 to 132 and leave him on the precipice as the tour heads west this week.

At the very bottom of the countdown list in Funny Car is Cruz Pedregon, who started the 2023 season with major optimism following his team's dominating victory at the 2022 season finale in Pomona. However, it didn't last into the current season, as the only time they've advanced to the semifinals was at the U.S. Nationals, before starting the countdown with back-to-back first round losses. Moving ahead of them to #10 in the standings, was the underfunded Jim Dunn Racing entry, driven by Alex Laughlin, who carded his first semi-final finish in the class at Charlotte. Despite the good result, he enters the second third of the playoffs more than 200 points out of the lead, and nearing mathematical elimination from the championship chase.


Countdown to the Championship PS


The format of the Countdown series of races can drastically diminish the points lead for the top racers in the standings following the "reset" after the U.S. Nationals. A prime example of that phenomenom is Dallas Glenn, who saw his nearly 200-point lead shrink to just 25 going into the first event of the countdown. After two races in the ' countdown, Glenn finds himself in third place in the standings, but only 15 points behind the current leader, Matt Hartford. One major beneificiary of the reset was defending (four-time) champion, Erica Enders, who started the countdown just 32 points behind Glenn, after trailing him by 300 points before the recalculation. She's notched consecutive semi-final finishes in the past two weeks to sit just FOUR points behind Hartford.

The Charlotte winner, Greg Anderson, made a huge jump up the ladder, from #8 to #4 with his victory, leaving him just 61 points out of the lead, with four races left in the season. If he could continue his strong performances, a sixth world championship is a possibility. Among the other contenders, Kyle Korestky has bounced from #8 (after Indy) to #5, following his final round finish at Reading, then back to #8 after a first round loss at Charlotte. Despite that setback, he's less than 100 points behind the leader and within striking distance of the lead.

With the addition of "participants" in the countdown, Pro Stock has a total of 16 racers competing for the championship. However, all the racers in the bottom five in the standings, from #12 to #16, have failed to win a round in the countdown and range from 205 to 290 points behind the points leader. Obviously none of them are in any serious, or not serious contention for championship consideration. Perhaps it's time for the NHRA to consider tightening the entrance requirements for entry to the countdown sweepstakes.


Countdown to the Championship PSM


The final NHRA Pro category, the two-wheeled Pro Stock bikes, has seen a complete domination of the category in 2023, with sophomore competitor Gaige Herrara on the all-conquering Vance & Hines Suzuki entry, running away with the points lead. Leaving the U.S. Nationals with a 335-point lead, Herrara saw that gigantic margin trimmed to just 29 points before the countdown started. Despite six event wins in the nine races before the countdown, and 28 round wins, against just three losses, Hererra literally had to start all over in his quest for the championship. He "faltered" at Reading with a semi-final finish that dropped him to second in the standings, before rebounding with the event win at Charlotte to retake the points lead by 52 points over closest pursuer Matt Smith.

Sitting just below Smith in the standings is resurgent Hector Arana Jr., only TWO points behind Smith following his runnerup finish at Charlotte. Hanging in there in the #4 spot, just a little more than 100 points behind Herrara is former series champion Eddie Krawiec, hoping to have a chance for his fourth world championship. It's been 12 years since his last title, and he's certainly more than overdue. Below Krawiec, the gap between #1 and those in #5 and below, range from 133 points (Angie Smith, down to #9, Mark Ingwersen, sitting 199 points behind the leader, and realistically, out of any serious contention status.


The latest update as of September 18, 2023



Countdown to the Championship TF


Countdown to the Championship FC


The latest update as of September 15, 2023


Pep Boys NHRA Nationals

A few quick hits from the first round of Top Alcohol qualifying

The first pair of Top Alcohol Funny Cars down the track set some high marks with the slower car, running 5.520 - 267.54 to put driver Phil Burkart Jr. into the #2 position. Taking the top spot, after the first pair was the A/Funny Car (injected NITRO) of Mick Steele, who set what must be a best ever run for the injected option at 5.519 - 254.71. The speed indicates that the car wasn't running strong all the way to the stripe, so there must be more in that combination as the sorting-out process continues.

Matt Gill dipped into the 5.40's with a very strong 5.464 - 269.56 to grab the top spot, before the final pair of the round, Greg Bellemeur and Bob McCosh Jr. came to the line. Expecting side-by-side 5.40's - or possibly even quicker than that - it was over quickly for Bellemeur as tire shake and a wheelstand ended their pass, while McCosh motored on to a solid 5.495 - 264.80 to grab the #2 rung on the ladder.

The dragsters are on track now but we won't be able to report on the entire session, as this is a work day for the webmaster. However, we can report that the first car out of the lanes, Earl Nichols Jr. in the Samsel Racing "rent-a-ride" ran a career best at 5.192 - 273.22 to show just how fast the conditions were.


The latest update as of September 14, 2023


Pep Boys NHRA Nationals

The Pep Boys NHRA Nationals has begun

Even though the VERY fast, and REALLY loud cars don't start qualifying until tomorrow, the event is underway with all the Sportsman categories running under warm sunny skies in rural Pennsylvania. The weather forecast for the weekend is good, the pits are more or less full of race cars, and spectator attendance should be very good. There's 16 cars entered in Top Fuel, 17 in Funny Car, and a whopping 22 cars in Pro Stock. Only one PRO category, Pro Stock Motorcycle, is a little light on entrants, with just 15 riders on the list. In Top Alcohol, there's 19 dragsters, and as has become all too common in recent years, only ten in Funny Car.

We'll be following the race closesly, both for the countdown results, and the Top Alcohol championships. Keep checking back throughout the weekend for updates on this page.


The latest update as of September 13, 2023


2023 Camping World Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship

The Countdown is ON

With the first of six races in the countdown starting tomorrow at Reading, PA's Maple Grove Raceway, the pressure to perform will be squarely on the drivers and crews in the PRO categories. When the "playoff" system came into being, it did eliminate the chance for a runaway season by one dominating team and created a levelled playing field for the final quarter of the season. A very good case in point is on display in Pro Stock Motorcycle, with relative newcomer Gaige Herrera 326 points in front of his nearest challenger, Matt Smith following the U.S. Nationals.

Even though the leaders in the other three eliminators have seen their leads diminished substantially, none were in a completely commanding position with six events and 24 rounds of eliminations remaining on the schedule. The graphics below show every countdown participant's points following the "reset", and these graphics will be updated at the conclusion of each race remaining in the 2023 season. Follow along and see how the lead(s) shift, racers fortunes wax and wane, and ultimately, who takes the BIG championship trophies at the end of the season. Or, as has happened before, at Las Vegas, or Dallas if the cards fall the right way for one team.


Countdown to the Championship TF-FC

Countdown to the Championship PS-PSM

The latest update as of September 12, 2023


Dodge Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals

We've received all the photos from final eliminations at the U.S. Nationals and we're posting them further down the page. Quick access to the gallery is available by clicking HERE. Note that we will be adding photos and captions throughout the next few days.


Nitro Nationals

Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series - Nitro Nationals - Tulsa Raceway Park

The fifth of six major events on the Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series calendar gets underway Friday at Osage Casino & Hotel Tulsa Raceway Park. Racers from as far north as Victoria, BC (Phil Ruskowski) and all the way east to Ohio (Tyler Hilton) will be competing in Top Fuel. While we don't know exactly which Funny Car racers will be coming down from Washington state, we can expect Drew Austin, Bucky Austin, Kris Krabill, and possibly Michael Peck Sr. or Jr. to be making the tow down to Oklahoma. And there's sure to be a number of California cars making the trek east.

We're not sure how much news we can expect from the event, other than regular postings on the Island Nitro Facebook page by the Canadian team, running the "Xibitionist" small-block Chevy powered Top Fuel entry. Checking around on the internet, we should be able to dig up enough info from various sources to piece together at least a quick synopsis of the on-track action at Tulsa.




FUNNY CAR CHAOS - Chaos Cajun Nationals - State Capitol Raceway

Originally scheduled to be held as the second race on the schedule, in mid April, the Chaos Cajun Nationals was moved to the end of the calendar and became the 2023 season finale. With most of the Top Ten racers in FCC are competing, there's room for a few more to join that group and take home an extra $1,000 for finishing between #6 and #10 on the final points tally.

Funny Car Chaos employs a unique system of having a "drop" race for all contestants, which allows them to skip one event - usually the longest, and therefore most expensive, tow without losing out on a points earning opportunity. If a racer attends every event on the schedule, then they have to drop the lowest points earning event from their final tally. The graphic below illustrates the current situation for the Top Twenty racers, showing the points they have going into the season finale, and the net points after the drop.

We'll update the points after the first two qualifying sessions on Friday as the racers head into the final day of competition on Saturday.


FUNNY CA CHAOS Points Standings as of Sept. 12, 2023

NOTE: Points with a YELLOW background will be dropped to arrive at a net total for each racer.


The latest update as of September 11, 2023


Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Top Alcohol national championship standings


TAD Points Standings as of Sept. 11, 2023

NOTE: To see a larger version, just click on the graphic. Points in RED have been waived. Event abbreviations in BOLD are races entered. Events that are XXX'd out are ones not possible for the racer to attend.


One thing that is almost certain in Top Alcohol Dragster is that defending - and five-time champion, Joey Severance will not be retaining his crown in 2023. The final nail in the coffin of their championship hopes came in the final qualifying session at Brainerd, when he broke the crankshaft, effectively wiping out the engine. With not enough parts in the trailer to put another one together, the Severance team withdrew from the event, and went home to lick their wounds. With no entries from them for at least the next two events, their championship hopes have all but evaporated.

At the top of the standings going into the U.S. Nationals, Shawn Cowie saw his tenuous lead go away very quickly following an untimely first round loss. After a great start to the season, with a regional win at Phoenix, and a runnerup at the Winternationals, Cowie hasn't gone past the second round at a national event since. That's six races with three first round exits, and three losses in the second round. Giving him any chance for a title this year is his three regional event wins, gaining the maximum points possible on that side of the ledger. With three national events left in the western half of the country (Dallas, Las Vegas & Pomona), all tracks that Cowie traditionally runs well at, he does have a viable chance to get back to the top of the list.

Holding down the top two spots on the leader board are perennial contender Julie Nataas, in the #1 spot with a slim 21-point lead over relative newcomer Tony Stewart. Both racers were in a virtual tie for second place until Indy, but Stewart's quarter-final loss, coupled with Julie's runnerup finish made for the current gap between them. While Stewart has entered the Reading and Charlotte races, there are no pre-entries on the docket for Nataas at this point. However, it looks probable that she will be at ZMax Dragway next week, otherwise she will miss a chance to maximize her points earnings possibilities with just three events remaining after Charlotte.

While no one in the Top Ten, and for that matter, only one racer, (Chris Demke), in the Top 20 mathematically eliminated, the hopes for the racers lower down in the Top Ten, Jasmine Salinas, and Cody Krohn are all but gone as neither racer has any pre-entries to their name. Further up the list, #5 Matt Cummings could gain some serious ground with a win at Reading in a "home track" race for the McPhillips Racing conglomerate. If he could take the event trophy, then a few more appearances could be in the offing for the hard running team.

Two contenders that have flown somewhat under the radar this season, at least until Indy, are Madison Payne and Mike Coughlin. Payne, in only her second full season on the national tour, took home the trophy at the U.S. nationals and moved into a contending position. While she is 170 points behind Nataas, she has one regional event remaining that could add 53 points to her current total, and she has entries in for the next three national events. With the momentum that the Indy win gave her, she has a real chance to move up the list in the coming weeks. She may just surprise a few folks along the way.

The other racer in that seventh place tie, is Mike Coughlin, who drives the Samsel Racing A/Fuel Dragster. Unfortunately, following his event win at the Charlotte 4-wides in the spring, and wins at regional events in Columbus, OH and Bowling Green, KY, Coughlin fell in the first round at Indy. That didn't put an end to his championship hopes, but with no pre-entries in his name at this point, time is rapidly running out for him to make a run for the top.

Following the Pep Boys NHRA Nationals we will update this story with the latest points totals and prognostications for the championship chase.


TAFC Points Standings as of Sept. 11, 2023

NOTE: To see a larger version, just click on the graphic. Points in RED have been waived. Event abbreviations in BOLD are races entered. Events that are XXX'd out are ones not possible for the racer to attend.


The situation is much simpler in Funny Car, as defending champion, Doug Gordon, has been atop the standings for most of the season, and with five national event wins, is in by far the strongest position to repeat as champion in his final season of driving. Three time champion, Sean Bellemeur, in the very potent "Killer B's" car is nearly 140 points behind Gordon, and needs to repeat his Indy win at Reading this week, and Charlotte next week, to have a chance to overtake the leader.

If Bellemeur can win the Pep Boys NHRA Nationals he would move to within 54 points of Gordon, and if he could three-peat at the betway NHRA Carolina Nationals next week, he would tie Gordon for the lead. However, that would leave Bellemeur with only two more national events to gain points, while Gordon will have three races remaining at that point. Additionally, Gordon has two regional events left on his ledger, while Bellemeur is down to one. It will be very interesting to see how the next 12 days play out in the championship chase.

Sitting in third place, Bob McCosh Jr., has had a very successful season, with one national event win in three final rounds, and two wins, and a runnerup at the regional level. He's slightly more than 200 points in arrears of Gordon at this point, but with entries in the next four national events, there's lots of room for him to augment his points total considerably. With only five national events attended, compared to Bellemeur's six, and Gordon's seven, McCosh is well positioned to start adding to his total this week at Reading. Stay tuned to this story as he is running well, and fresh off a regional win at Earlville yesterday. Momentum can be a powerful force and he definitely has it on his side. A real darkhorse pick but a viable one.

Two other longshots, Matt Gill, currently #5 in the standings, and Ulf Leanders, #7 have mathematical chances to overtake Gordon, but both must make the most of their chances at Reading. If either falls early, their championship aspirations could be finished. The #4 points holder, Brian Hough, hasn't entered Reading, and if he doesn't enter the Charlotte race, then he will be officially eliminated from championship contention.

Following the Pep Boys NHRA Nationals we will update this story with the latest points totals and prognostications for the championship chase.


The latest update as of September 9, 2023


NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series enters the homestretch


When the NHRA 2023 season opened with three regional events in late February and early March, then shifted to national events with the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals in mid-March, it seemed like a very long season was just beginning. Now, 17 regional and 15 national events later, it seems to be very quickly heading to a conclusion. In fact, just nine weeks from tomorrow, it will all end at the In-N-Out Burger NHRA Finals at Pomona, CA.

While the PRO racers enter their six-race "Coundown to the Championship", and for the first time, the Pro Mod contingent will have their own mini Countdown, which started following the Norwalk event in June. The "Road to the Championship" for Pro Mod has just four events, with two of them, Brainerd and Indy, already completed. The remaining races will be held at St. Louis (NHRA Midwest Nationals), and Las Vegas (NHRA Nevada Nationals), with the championship crown being handed out on the big stage at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

The Top Alcohol racers have a very different path to their respective championships, which combine 22 regional and 14 national events during the season. Racers can enter as many races as they wish, but can only claim points from seven of their first ten national events, and three of their first five regional events. There is quite a bit of strategy at play in choosing when and where to run, with calculations including car counts and level of competition, to travel costs - a serious factor in the 2020's - to atmospheric and track conditions.

Until late in the season, when racers in serious contention for a championship have used up most, or all, of their points earning events, it's difficult to see just how the championship standings will unfold. At this writing, there are nearly two dozen Top Alcohol Dragster racers with at least a mathematical chance of taking the season title, while in the Funny Car ranks, there's only 11 competitors with even a mathematical chance of victory. That is due, at least in part, to the continuing decline in the number of alcohol Funny Cars running, despite the inclusion of the injected nitro at the beginning of the season, which was intended (or at least hoped) to increase participation numbers.


The latest update as of September 6, 2023


Dodge Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals

DODGE Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals - ELIMINATIONS


After a few dramatic moments in the final qualifying sessions, four full fields of PRO drivers and crews anxiously awaited the start of one gruelling day of final eliminations. For half the contestants their six-day odyssey of the U.S. Nationals would come to an early end in the next hour but for the first round winners, another hour or two or three of hard work and close competition lay ahead. While we don't have pics of every car that went down the track on Monday, we've provided a wide cross-section of racers in all four categories.


TOP FUEL Eliminations - Round ONE


Shawn Langdon - TF --- T. J. Zizzo - TF

(LEFT) With some of the best atmospheric and track conditions of the weekend, the #8 vs #9 pairing opened Top Fuel eliminations, Driving the "Kalitta Air" entry, Shawn Langdon prevailed in this match against Josh Hart (not shown), despite a misfiring cylinder that limited him to a 3.809 - 315.71 clocking.

(RIGHT) The underdog extraordinaire from Chicago, T. J. Zizzo, running with "Rustoleum" backing, came into the first round with lane choice, but left late and smoked the tires early, falling to Clay Millican (not shown) with a coasting 4.348 - 183.59 effort. After running so well in qualifying, with a 3.736 - 330.07 in Friday's first session, this loss had to be a major diappointment.

Brittany Force - TF --- Doug Foley - TF

(LEFT) The first upset of the round came next, as #2 qualifier, Brittany Force, left with opponent Antron Brown (not shown) and was side-by-side with him at the 660' mark, before exploding the supercharger and slowing to a losing 3.870 at only 244.21 mph. For Brown, after nothing but struggles in qualifying, to get past a very tough opponent in the first round was quite a turnaround

(RIGHT) Another racer that doesn't run on a regular basis, with the U.S. Nationals being just his sixth race of the season, is Doug Foley, sporting the colours of "Alloy". He improved on his qualifying best, pounding out a 3.763 - 317.87 against Justin Ashley (not shown), but it was all undone by a slightly late leave. Giving Ashley a seven hundredths advantage in reaction times is usually a fatal mistake, and this time it certainly was.

Spencer Massey - TF --- Will Smith - TF

(LEFT) With owner Pat Dakin content to be on the sidelines, Spencer Massey ran well in qualifying, dipping into the 3.70's with the "Commercial Metals" car. He stayed in the 3.7-zone, with a very good 3.798 - 326.95, but it wasn't quite enough to stay with Doug Kalitta (not shown). Both drivers left together, but Kalitta's low e.t. of the meet 3.692 was simply too good.

(RIGHT) Qualifying for the first time in his nascent Top Fuel career, former A/Fuel Dragster racer Will Smith wheeled the Larry Dixon-owned "Band of Brothers" entry to a 3.822 - 312.78 to hold down the bump spot. He nearly matched those numbers in the opening round, with a solid 3.830 - 309.42, and a quicker reaction (.033) time than his opponent, Steve Torrence, (not shown). But it wasn't enough to stay with the former world champion.

Tony Schumacher - TF

Even though it was before noon, the exhaust flames were clearly visible on the Tony Schumacher driven "Scag" entry, and it was a good precursor to a solid 3.770 - 326.00, his best of the event. He even left first by a few thousandths on opponent Doug Kalitta (not shown), but the margin at the finish line was .005 seconds in Kalitta's favour, and a 3-ft win, by far the closest race of the round.


FUNNY CAR Eliminations - Round ONE


Terry Haddock - FC --- Bobby Bode III - FC

(LEFT) Funny Car's ultimate underdog, Terry Haddock, who virtually trademarked the phrase "I'm too stupid to quit" has come a long way from his "cannon fodder" days. With expert tuning assistance from Johnny West, he's qualified at nine of the ten events he's entered this season. A solid 4.0 performer, he stayed right there with a 4.060 - 300.80 (shutting off a little early), but it was several car lengths behind opponent Bob Tasca III (not shown).

(RIGHT) A part-timer, partly due to his college studies, and partly due to a less than gargantuan budget, second-generation flopper pilot Bobby Bode III came into eliminations without a full pass on his qualifying card. He ran into the same problems that beset him in qualifying, running well to half track, before slowing to a losing 4.187 - 253.90 against a much quicker and faster effort from Alexis DeJoria (not shown).

Robert Hight - FC --- Matt Hagan - FC

(LEFT) Low qualifier Robert Hight, matched his qualifying speed with a 329.67 mph run, but fell just a tad short on e.t. with a 3.889 being just a few ticks slower than his #1 qualifying 3.853. Even though he left second to opponent Paul Lee (not shown), he ran away to a train length victory over Lee's low 4-second pass.

(RIGHT) Starting eliminations from the #4 qualifying position, Matt Hagan put the power down all the way to the stripe, notching a very quick and fast 3.914 - 329.91 to easily dispose of Alex Laughlin (not shown). With Ron Capps running in the next pair, and the winner of that match being Hagan's opponent in the second round, the DODGE team was hoping they were quick enough to hold lane choice.

Ron Capps - FC --- John Force - FC

(LEFT) With a Don "The Snake" Prudhomme wrap on the car, and the man himself standing behind the starting line, Ron Capps had to be feeling the pressure to live up to his mentor's success at Indy. It didn't faze him as he pounded out a 3.894 - 326.87 to take lane choice in the next round. But as good as the run was, it was only the third quickest of the round to that point.

(RIGHT) Facing an opponent that he's been running against for 30 years, John Force was hoping to keep his winning record against Cruz Pedregon going, but it wasn't to be as Pedregon left first by a couple of hundredths, then outran the "GOAT" to the finish line, for a car length victory. Force's 3.998 - 318.69 just wasn't enough on race day.

J.R. Todd - FC --- Tim Wilkerson - FC

(LEFT) A quick reaction time and strong run until just before the finish line was enough for J.R. Todd to advance to the second round. Leaving on opponent Blake Alexander (not shown) by half a tenth and pounding out a 3.913 at 304.19 was enough to take the win over Alexander's solid 3.972 - 324.83 effort. Todd='s e.t. gave lane choice to Bob Tasca III in the next round.

(RIGHT) Closing out the round was the pairing of the two "Team Wilkerson" cars, with Tim facing Chad Green (not shown). It turned into the closest race of the round as Green's .034 reaction time gave him a very short-lived lead, to the 60' mark, before Wilkerson took over and hung on for the half car length win with a very good 3.913 - 329.58 over Green's close 3.989 - 328.94 pass. Wilkerson's run wasn't quick enough to give him lane choice for his second round match with Robert Hight.


PRO STOCK Eliminations - Round ONE


Camrie Caruso - PS --- Fernando Caudra Jr. - PS

(LEFT) As usually happens, the #8 and #9 qualifiers faced off in the opening pairing of eliminations. The race turned into a solo for Camrie Caruso as her scheduled opposition, Cristian Caudra, (not shown) left a huge oildown on his burnout. The culprit was the filler cap on the rear end fell off and the resulting cleanup took nearly a full hour, most likely the longest of the entire season. Meanwhile, Caruso cruised into the quarter final round with a solid 6.630 - 206.51 to kick off Pro Stock eliminations.

(RIGHT) The second Caudra driver in the field, Fernando Caudra Jr. had a much better result as his decent 6.652 - 205.41 was more than enough to handle the tractionless Bo Butner (not shown). However, it wasn't likely that Caudra's run would give him lane choice in the next round, and with the oiled down lane possibly suspect, it might prove difficult for anyone forced to run there.

Kyle Koretsky - PS --- Dallas Glenn - PS

(LEFT) Facing the wiley veteran Greg Anderson (not shown), young Kyle Koretsky took an easy win when Anderson shut off at the 1000' mark, allowing an unspectacular 6.639 - 206.32 pass for Koretsky to turn on the winlight. With the quicker qualifiers running later in the first round, lane choice might not be going to Koretsky in the second round.

(RIGHT) Coming into Indy with four wins and seven final round appearances in 11 races, Dallas Glenn was well in front of the points standings, but he only qualified in the #5 position, earning him a tough first round match with Deric Kramer (not shown). Both drivers launched with nearly identical reaction times, but Glenn's 6.631 - 206.45 earned him a .0035 winning margin, a gap at the finish line of barely one foot.

Matt Hartford - PS --- Erica Enders - PS

(LEFT) One of the serious contenders this season, Matt Hartford qualified on top of the field with an excllent 6.569, earning him a first round matchup with young Mason McGaha (not shown). When the ambers flashed, it was over very quickly as McGaha ran into instant trouble and Hartford motored away with the quickest and fastest run - so far - in the first round. The scoreboards lit up with a 6.613 - 206.83 to give him lane choice over Camrie Caruso in the next round.

(RIGHT) The defending series champion, Erica Enders, rebounded from a terrible opening quarter of the season, with wins in two of the last five races coming into the U.S. Nationals, and showed she was ready to rumble with a first round win over Chris McGaha (not shown), in a surprising close race. Erica left first and finished first with a very good 6.618 - 208.17 to take a slightly more than half car length win over the Texas veteran. Her e.t. also earned her lane choice over Dallas Glenn in the second round.

Aaron Stanfield - PS --- Troy Coughlin Jr. - PS

(LEFT) The next race was virtually over when they let the clutch out, as Aaron Stanfield put a full tenth of a second holeshot on Eric Latino (not shown), before running away to a two car-length win. Stanfield stopped the timers with low e.t. and top speed of the first round, at 6.613 - 208.26 to grant him lane choice over Koretsky in round two.

(RIGHT) Closing out the first round of eliminations was a pairing of the #2 and #15 qualifiers, and it went according to form, with Troy Coughlin Jr. taking a car length victory over the good effort of Jerry Tucker (not shown). They both left with nearly identical lights, but Coughlin's much better 6.619 - 207.59 was more than enough to turn on the winlight. It also gave him lane choice over Fernando Caudra Jr. in the next round.


PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE Eliminations - Round ONE


We will admit that we're not major fans of the two-wheeled racers, but all the teams and riders are professional and put on a very good show for the fans. Some close racing and impressive performance are hallmarks of the class. However, this year has seen virtually total dominance from the Vance & Hines team, with sophomore racer Gaige Herrara notching six wins and a runnerup in the eight races before the U.S. Nationals.

Jianna Evaristo - PSM --- Angie Smith - PSM

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Steve Johnson - PSM --- Matt Smith - PSM

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Hector Arana Jr. - PSM --- Gaige Herrera - PSM

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)


PRO MODIFIED Eliminations - Round TWO


Khalid alBalooshi - PM --- Stan Shelton - PM

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Justin Bond - PM --- Rickie Smith - PM

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)


FACTORY X Eliminations - Round ONE


Chris Holbrook - FX --- Greg Stanfield - FX

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)


TOP FUEL Eliminations - Round TWO


Clay Millican - TF --- Leah Pruett - TF

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Shawn Langdon - TF --- Doug Kalitta - TF

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)


FUNNY CAR Eliminations - Round TWO


Bob Tasca III - FC --- Robert Hight - FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Alexis DeJoria - FC --- Alexis DeJoria - FC

Ron Capps - FC


PRO MOD Eliminations - Semi-Finals


Mike Castellana - PM


TOP ALCOHOL DRAGSTER Eliminations - Semi-Finals


Megan Smith - AFD --- John Gutierrez - BAD

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)


TOP ALCOHOL FUNNY CAR Eliminations - Semi-Finals


Doug Gordon - TAFC --- Doug Gordon - TAFC

Sean Bellemeur - TAFC


TOP FUEL Eliminations - Semi-Finals


Steve Torrence - TF --- Antron Brown - TF

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)


FUNNY CAR Eliminations - Semi-Finals


Cruz Pedregon - FC --- Robert Hight - FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)


PRO STOCK Eliminations - Semi-Finals


Fernando Caudra Jr. - PS --- Erica Enders - PS

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)


PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE Eliminations - Semi-Finals


Angie Smith - PSM --- Matt Smith - PSM

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)


PRO STOCK Eliminations - FINAL


Fernando Caudra Jr. - PS


FUNNY CAR Eliminations - FINAL


Ron Capps - FC --- Ron Capps crew

Ron Capps on Sunoco Vision


TOP FUEL Eliminations - FINAL


Antron Brown - TF


STOCK & SUPER STOCK Eliminations - FINALS


Ross Ponville - A/SA --- Wyatt Wagner - SS/GA

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)


COMP & FACTORY X Eliminations - FINALS


Chase Williams - B/ED --- Chris Holbrook - FX

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)


PRO MODIFIED & TOP ALCOHOL DRAGSTER - FINALS


Kris Thorne - PM --- Madison Payne - AFD

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)


TOP ALCOHOL FUNNY CAR Eliminations - FINALS


Doug Gordon - TAFC --- Doug Gordon - TAFC


The latest update as of September 5, 2023


UPDATE: Ron Farmer passing on September 1st


We received some shocking, and sad news today of the recent passing of one of the true icons of drag racing in British Columbia, and indeed, in all of Canada. Ron Farmer was one of the driving forces behind the establishment of the British Columbia Custom Car Association in 1951, and managed the original Mission Racewayfrom it's opening in 1965 until it's closing. If it wasn't for his passion for the sport, and his determination to not let the closing of the original track in 1978 be the end of drag racing in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Mission Raceway Park would not exist.

When the original track closed to make way for a business park, there was a deal made on an alternate, and much larger, site further from the city of Mission. With an agreement that the Provincial government would fund the necessary earthworks to make the new site suitable for a dragstrip and associated activities, the BCCCA felt that racing would resume within two years.

Two years turned into 26 years and if not for the herculean efforts headed by Ron Farmer, the new track would have never been built. After a Provincial Ombudsman's report, and a Supreme Court case, amends were made to the club, and construction of the new facility was completed in early 1992. Now, more than thirty years later, MRP is still a first-class facility with one of the smoothest, fastest drag strips in the world, and atmospheric conditions that are rarely matched elsewhere.

All drag racers, fans, and anyone who knows anyone connected to the sport should be thankful that people like Ron Farmer were among us. May his spirit and memory live on in all of us. RIP, Ron.

Ron Farmer BCCCA work party March 11, 1990

A photo of Ron Farmer, with the kind permission of Larry "Horsepower Heaven" Pfister taken from the roof of the timing tower as the new Mission Raceway was under construction (March 11, 1990)


The latest update as of September 5, 2023


Mo-Kan Dragway - Funny Car Chaos

FUNNY CAR CHAOS - Qualifying Session #3 (FINAL)


Daniel Butherus - 'Rat-A-Tude' --- Daniel Butherus - 'Rat-A-Tude' (front) vs 
Alex Barker - 'Back In Black' (rear)

(LEFT) Laying down a strong, but slightly off-course burnout, was returning veteran of the FCC circuit, Daniel Butherus in his turbocharged BBC-powered "Rat-A-Tude". He laid down a mediocre 5.032 - 154.78 pass, but the excitement started when he pulled the chutes.

(RIGHT) From this angle it looks like Butherus was being rear-ended by Alex Barker's GTO, but there was no contact between the two cars, despite the wildly out-of-shape stance of the Firebird-bodied flopper as it crossed into Barker's lane and swung wildly from side to side before he wrestled it to a stop.

Joacim Ljungberg - 'Raw Valley' --- Steve Timoszyk - 'Detroit Tiger'

(LEFT) Making his first appearance of the season, Sweden's Joacim (Joe) Ljungberg, in the California-based "Raw Valley" entry, improved from his Friday best of 4.673, stopping the timers with a 4.567 - 158.17 that placed him in the "C" field.

(RIGHT) Back on the FCC circuit after missing the last two races, Steve Timoszyk wheeled the "Detroit Tiger" Monza to a good 4.092 - 179.86 pass, but it wasn't quite as quick as his earlier 4.026 - 180.43 effort, leaving him in the middle of the "B" field.

Jade Cook - 'Nemesis' --- Clay Cunningham - 'Still Crazy'

(LEFT) With a 3.966 e.t. on the leader board from Friday night, Jade Cook put down a hard burnout in her ProCharger-blown "Nemesis". While she didn't match her earlier best, an early shutoff 4.196 at just 139.28 mph showed that there was plenty of power under the Dodge-bodied entry.

(RIGHT) Launching with the wheels up, as many cars did on the sticky Mo-Kan starting line, Clay Cunningham went on a wild ride In the "Still Crazy" entry, crossing the centerline, taking out the 330' timing block and skating to a DQ'd 4.596 - 156.90 time, as he never lifted, despite the almost out of control attitude of his car.

Mike Newkirk - 'Disturbed' --- Jim Chase - 'Hot Pursuit'

(LEFT) Looking for better numbers than Friday's 4.055 - 157.18, Mike Newkirk pushed his "Disturbed" entry to a brilliant 3.807 - 199.38 to take at least a temporary hold on the #3 position on the "A" field ladder. The new body and chassis were required after his off the end of the track "excursion" at the Eddyville event in May. Fortunately, he was able to find an ex-Doug Gordon rolling chassis with body and three months later he was back in business.

(RIGHT) Pulling the chutes on his new look, and named car, North Dakota's Jim Chase proved that his "Hot Pursuit" entry was still "Wicked-ly Quick", as he sat near the top of the list with a Friday best of 3.776 - 194.22. This final qualifying pass wasn't better, as a 4.087 - 183.00 came up on the scoreboard.

Tod Barker -' Back In Black' --- Kris Battey - 'Batmobile'

(LEFT) Still working on the tuneup in the injected nitro burning Corvette, Tod Barker came close to backing up his earlier 4.217 e.t., with a competitive 4.329 - 165.38 pass that left him in the bottom half of the "B" field.

(RIGHT) Trying hard to qualify, Kris Battey, in the "Batmobile" entry, didn't have quite enough as his best pass of the weekend came in this session, but a 4.754 - 147.83, fell just short of the 4.692 "C" field bubble.

Shayne Lawson - 'Man O' War II' --- Jordan Ballew - 'Ballew Thunder'

(LEFT) Taking one more shot at the timers, despite being at the top of the qualifying sheet with an earlier 3.725 - 209.21, the "Man O' War II" thundered to an even better 3.719 - 211.07 to show everyone that the Ken Singleton-tuned entry was ready to take on all comers.

(RIGHT) After towing all the way to Maryland for last week's FCC event, Oklahoman Jordan Ballew made three consistent runs in qualifying here, with this one being a little slower (4.411 - 162.87 than his earlier best of 4.383 - 167.29 that left him in the #22 spot at the close of qualifying. Ths run was also the final round of the Kearney event, which saw Ballew finish in the runnerup spot in the "C" field to Mike Buchanan (not shown).

Tom Furches - 'Made In America' --- Roger Eckhert - licensing

(LEFT) You could title this as "won the battle, lost the war", as Tom Furches laid down a great 4.080 - 161.75 to take the Kearney win in the "B" field, over a redlighting Chris Schneider (not shown). However, as the "Made In America" entry neared the finish line, he slowed with possible engine damage, and he was unable to appear for eliminations. The large white cloud that trailed him through the lights was the ashes of a dear friend being taken for a last ride down the strip and scattered in the shutdown area.

(RIGHT) Qualifying closed with a newcomer to the series, Roger Eckhert making a much improved pass over his 9-second clocking of Friday. The '66 Chevy II looked good and with more experience and some tuning, could be a good addition to the Funny Car Chaos contingent.

With a total of 33 cars in attendance, and just three 8-car fields being contested, there were a few racers going home disappointed. Three of them turned up broken before the first round: the aforementioned Tom Furches, and Lance Van Hauen, as the car apparently broke on the burnout in the third qualifying session. Matt Nissen who qualified #26, and would have made it into the "C" field as an alternate, wasn't able to make it, elevating Michael Neal (#27 on the list) into eliminations.


FUNNY CAR CHAOS - "A" Field eliminations - Round #1


Jeff Cameron - 'War Machine' --- Jeff Cameron - 'War Machine'

(LEFT) With an all 3-second field, there were bound to be some very difficult races, starting in the opening round. The Texas-based "War Machine" of #8 qualifier Jeff Cameron, fresh off his delayed victory at Kearney earlier in the day, faced defending series champion Kirk Williams as eliminations opened.

(RIGHT) As can be seen in the photo, the black nose of Williams' "200 Proof" car appears to be well in front of Cameron just off the line. That wasn't an optical illusion as Williams left first by an .056 to .213 margin and increased the lead all the way down the track, taking a resounding 3.723 - 206.33 win over Cameron's best of the weekend 3.804 - 207.37 losing effort.

Jim Chase - 'Hot Pursuit'

Despite laying down a hard burnout, Jim Chase struck the tires early and coasted to a 5-second e.t., losing to Mike Newkirk (not shown), who advanced to the semifinal with a very good 3.914 - 170.84 clocking.

Aaron Morrow - 'Nitro Relapse' --- Aaron Morrow - 'Nitro Relapse' (near lane) vs 
Keith Zimmerer - 'Penny Pincher 02' (far lane)

Seen from two angles, courtesy of our husband (Bob Snyder) and wife (Ginger), the Terry Darby-tuned and Aaron Morrow driven "Nitro Relapse" entry qualified strongly with a 3.920 - 204.36 best. He upped the pace in the first round with an even better 3.858 - 190.92 as opponent Keith Zimmerer (barely visible in the background of the photo on the right), broke on the launch. Unfortunately, Morrow wasn't able to return for the semifinals as the car burnt three pistons on this pass.


FUNNY CAR CHAOS - "B" Field eliminations - Round #1


Bob Alberty Jr.

The "B" field was running on a 3.76 index, established by top qualifier Jade Cook's great 3.966 qualifying pass, but it didn't appear anyone would be capable of going under that number. In the first pair, Bob Alberty Jr. in his "Thunderin' Okie" certainly brought the thunder with the quickest e.t. of the round, at 4.055 - 164.90, coupled with a nearly two tenths holeshot over his opponent, Tod Barker (not shown). One glitch occured though, as Alberty smacked the wall - hard - just before the finish line, DQ'ing the run and advancing Barker to the next round.

Chris Schneider - 'Brutus' (near lane) vs 
Mary Reep - 'Grim Reeper' (far lane) --- Mary Reep - 'Grim Reeper'

The second pair of the round matched the #4 and #5 qualifiers, Chris Schneider in the Mach 1-bodied "Brutus", against the later model Mustang of Mary Reep. Schneider left first by half a tenth and stretched the lead all the way with a winning 4.161 - 175.17 pass, over the slowing 4.434 - 149.06 effort of Reep.

Steve Timoszyk - 'Detroit Tiger' --- Wayne Hofmann - 'China Syndrome' (near lane) vs 
Jade Cook - 'Nemesis' (far lane)

(LEFT) Staying solidly in the 4.0's, Steve Timoszyk pounded out another great pass at 4.061 - 183.52 to take the automatic win over red-lighting opponent, Tony Arcuri (not shown), who wasted a good 4.238 - 168.41 run. Timosyzk's run was quickest of the round and earned him lane choice over Tod Barker in the second round.

(RIGHT) Closing the first round was the match between the top and bottom qualifiers, with Wayne Hofmann (near lane), knowing he was going to have to pull out all the stops to get past the very tough Jade Cook, in the far lane. Hofmann tried a little too hard and red-lighted by .061, throwing away a decent 4.213 - 168.16, and making Cook the winner. She didn't take it easy though, pushing the "Nemesis" to a very good 4.071 - 175.78, and gaining lane choice in the semifinal round.


FUNNY CAR CHAOS - "C" Field eliminations - Round #1


Dana Kleinhoffer - 'Tremor' --- Shane Blanton - 'Bad Company'

(LEFT) A welcome addition to the FCC is the Firebird-bodied "Tremor" brought out by Ilinois's . During qualifying, he progressed from an opening 4.71, to a 4.56, and finally, a 4.30 to end at the top of the "C" field. He slowed slightly in the opening round to a 4.420 - 148.47, but it was still more than enough to take out Michael Neal's (not shown) 4.709 pass.

(RIGHT) With a redlight shining on the Christmas tree in the other lane, Shane "Smokey" Blanton was off and running to an automatic win. He ran into trouble down track and shut off to a slow, but winning, 5.734 - 93.17, over Jordan Ballew's just a little too quick -.006 reaction time.

Joacim Ljungberg - 'Raw Valley' --- Bob & a new friend

(LEFT) Running his first elimination round in FCC competition in nearly a year, Joacim Ljungberg laid down a hard burnout before staging up to face opponent Mike Buchanan. Ljungberg got a little too anxious to get to the finish line, launching the "Raw Valley" Firebird before the tree was activated. Buchanan took and easy cruise into the semifinals, albeit without lane choice.

(RIGHT) Taking a break from the action to share some time with one of the numerous pets on hand for the event, dog-loving Bob Snyder was enjoying the attention from this friendly fellow.


FUNNY CAR CHAOS - "A" Field eliminations - Round #2


Kirk Williams - '200 Proof'

We've only got one photo from the second round, but this one of Kirk Williams doing a strong burnout in the "200 Proof" car pretty much sums up the action in the round. With no opponent in the other lane, due to Aaron Morrow's engine damage in the first round, Williams didn't spare the horses as he lit up the scoreboard with an excellent 3.722 - 205.86 to come close to Ronny Young's low e.t. of the meet 3.706 in the first round.

Before Williams' automatic advancement to the final round, the first pair of the second round turned into a bye run also. First round winner Mike Newkirk, was unable to make it back to the lanes after finding a broken rear end following his first round win. Not wanting to waste fuel or parts, Shayne Lawson simply staged the "Man O' War II" before shutting off on the starting line for the automatic win.


FUNNY CAR CHAOS - "B" Field eliminations - Round #2


We don't have any photos of this round either, but we can report that Jade Cook started drifting towards the guardrail, forcing her to shut down to a losing 4.360 - 127.30, indicating that she was enroute to some very good numbers. Taking advantage of her plight, Chris Schneider pounded out what could be a career best 4.093 - 177.51 to move to the final. The other pair turned into a bye run for Steve Timoszyk as opponent Tod Barker was unable to fire his injected nitro Corvette. Timoszyk ran hard, with a great 4.059 - 176.61 being quick enough to grab lane choice over Schneider for the final.


FUNNY CAR CHAOS - "C" Field eliminations - Round #2


Dana Kleinhoffer - 'Tremor' (near lane) vs 
Shane Blanton - 'Bad Company' (far lane)

The first pairing of the round had Dana Kleinhoffer (near lane) and Shane Blanton (barely visible), in the far lane. Kleinhoffer left first by a .027 to .104 margin, but Blanton passed him early and held on for the win with a solid 4.239 - 172.22 win over Kleinhoffer's good try of 4.649 - 162.81 in the losing cause.

The other race of the round (not shown) saw "The Gambler" cash in his chips, redlighting away a great 4.236 - 175.71 pass, with a .007 redlight. The beneficiary of that mistake was Mike Buchanan who moved to his second final round of the day, after taking the Kearney event win earlier, with a coasting 5.449 - 89.95 pass.


FUNNY CAR CHAOS - "C" Field eliminations (FINAL)


Shane Blanton - 'Bad Company' (near lane) vs 
Mike Buchanan - 'Hombre' (far lane) --- Mike Buchanan - 'Hombre' (near lane) vs 
Shane Blanton - 'Bad Company' (far lane)

Final round time featured multi-time event winner, Mike Buchanan in the unpainted/unwrapped newly carbon-fiber bodied Chevy Vega, facing the "Bad Company" Chevy Lumina of Shane Blanton. Despite being left on - big time - at the starting line with a .271 reaction, compared to Buchanan's much quicker .051, the Hemi-powered Lumina took the lead before the 330' mark, stopping the timers with an event winning 4.234 - 173.75, over Buchanan's simply too slow 4.731 - 157.78 effort.


FUNNY CAR CHAOS - "B" Field eliminations (FINAL)


Chris Schneider - 'Brutus'

What was intended to be a pair of hard running low 4.0-second cars turned into a bye run for winner Chris Schneider in the John Troxel-tuned "Brutus" Mach 1 Mustang. His scheduled opponent, Steve Timoszyk was unable to make the call after suffering serious engine damage in his semifinal win. Schneider made an even better run than his great 4.093 in the semifinal, lighting up the scoreboard with a 4.074 - 178.01 to show that they were truly on top of their tuneup after some disappointing outings this season.


FUNNY CAR CHAOS - "A" Field eliminations (FINAL)


Kirk Williams - '200 Proof' (near lane) vs 
Shayne Lawson - 'Man O' War II' (far lane) --- Shayne Lawson - 'Man O' War II' (near lane) vs 
Kirk Williams - '200 Proof' (far lane)

Closing out the event were the two strongest and most durable cars on the Funny Car Chaos circuit. Defending series champion Kirk Williams in the Williams Brothers "200 Proof" entry (near lane in the left photo), started eliminations from the #2 spot (3.748), and carded back-to-back 3.72's to reach the final round. Facing him was the "Man O' War II" Mustang of low qualifier Shayne Lawson, who grabbed the top spot with an excellent 3.719, then won in the opening round with a 3.76, took an automatic bye win in the semis, before facing Williams in the final.

When the ambers flashed, Williams was away first with an .026 reaction to Lawson's .065 launch. Both drivers were well under one second in the first 60', Lawson quickest at .956, while Williams was a fraction slower at .958. When they passed the 330' timers, Williams had pulled into a solid lead with a 2.501 interval time, while Lawson was slower at 2.545, making the gap between the cars nearly a car length. The margin continued to grow all the way to the 660' finish line, with Kirk Williams blasting out a new low e.t. of the meet at 3.686 - 206.71 over a very close 3.759 - 209.79 from Lawson. It was a pair of great runs to cap off a very successful event in front of a large and appreciative audience.


The latest update as of September 4, 2023


Dodge Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals

The 69th annual DODGE Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals is in the books with some repeat winners, some new winners, and some great stories from Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park. Attendance was very good on the weekend, and the racers filled the pits. We've posted yesterday's photos below and will start filling in the details tomorrow, and have today's photos from final eliminations posted at the same time. Tuesday morning update: We're still waiting for the photos from final eliminations as our hard working photographer, Dale Fackler who stood in the hot Indiana sun for five days capturing all the action, is now travelling home to Colorado. Until we have those photos, we've got time to fill in the details on everything leading up to the last day.

Sunday was a mixed bag, with the final two qualifying sessions for the PRO cars and bikes, and the new Factory X class, plus the first two rounds of eliminations for the Top Alcohol and Pro Mod categories. The day opened with continuing Sportsman eliminations, and closed with more of those eliminations, whittling down the Sportsman categories to the finalists for all but the Factory Stock Showdown eliminator.


FACTORY X - Qualifying Session #3 (FINAL)

After a gestation period of more than a year, the first example of the new eliminator category, Factory X, made an exhibition appearance at Norwalk earlier in the year. Now, for the first time, a field of four cars will compete officially at a national event. The new class is scheduled to appear at three more events this season, and will hopefully see increased participation at those races, as more of these new cars are completed and readied for competition. Starting from its Factory Stock Showdown origins, the cars are the same dimensions as the stock models from Ford, Dodge, and Chevy, but with a full tube chassis, come in 1000 lbs lighter than the FSS cars, and have a wider (10.5-inch) tire to help with traction. With the chassis being certified to 25.1 specs, FX frees them from the constraints of the FSS cars that are only ceritified for 7.50 or slower e.t.'s.

It was recently announced that the first driver to break the 200-mph barrier will win a $10,000 from the Jesel valvetrain compnay, and the next seven drivers to exceed that speed will also receive a cash payout and membership in the Jesel 200-MPH Club. Additionally, for the top qualifier this weekend, a $1,000 bonus from Stanfield Racing Engines, has been offered.

Greg Stanfield - F/X --- Chris Holbrook - F/X

(LEFT) With backing from Gil Kirk, founder of the "Rod Shop", long time sportsman, and former Pro Stock racer, Greg Stanfield, entered a Camaro that was fully tested and sorted. After failing to get very far on his first two qualifying attempts, it all came together in the third and final session, with a 7.236 - 190.83 to jump to the top of the field and show the potential for 6-second, 200+ mph performance in this class is almost a certainty in the near future.

(RIGHT) After leading the field through the first two sessions in his Mustang, long-time Ford racer Chris Holbrook nearly matched his earlier best e.t. with a very good 7.448 - 188.38 to stay in second place on the ladder behind Stanfield.

Trailing the top two qualifiers were former Pro Stock World Champion, Allen Johnson in Jeff Turk's "Blackbird" Challenger. Johnson's best effort in qualifying, a 7.689 - 180.50 placed him third on the ladder. Trailing the pack was the Camaro of James Cowan, as he could only muster an 8.196 - 168.11 timeslip.


PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE - Qualifying Session #4


Cory Reed - PSM --- Steve Johnson - PSM

(LEFT) Following a devastating two-bike crash with teammate Joey Gladstone two years ago, Cory Reed made his return to NHRA competition, riding a Suzuki Hayabusa. Coming into the fourth qualifying session, Reed was uncomfortably sitting on the bump spot at 7.210, and knew he needed to step up to be sure of making the 16-bike field. He did improve, with a 7.190 - 185.23 on the timeslip, but still only good enough for the #16 spot.

(RIGHT) Already placed in the top of the field with a previous best of 6.881, veteran rider Steve Johnson came close, but didn't better that number, stopping the clocks at 6.900 - 192.85 to remain in the #6 spot.

Matt Smith - PSM --- Gaige Herrera - PSM

(LEFT) Former (6-time!) world champion Matt Smith, wanted to move closer to the top from his #4 position, but like so many riders in this session, was unable to match his earlier 6.877 e.t., and clocked in at 6.892 - 197.10 to rack up low e.t. of the session.

(RIGHT) Since debuting in Pro Stock Bike at this event last year, Gaige Herrera has been dominating the class this year, and had the #1 spot in the field firmly in his back pocket with a best of 6.746 - 198.46, but slowed two tenths from that number, with a 6.956 - 192.99 showing on the timers.


PRO STOCK - Qualifying Session #4


Fernando Caudra Sr. - PS --- Jerry Tucker - PS

(LEFT) It's been a long season for family patriarch Fernando Caudra Sr., as he's only qualified four times in 11 events. With 17 cars in the pits, someone's going to be sitting out eliminations on Monday, and Fernando doesn't want it to be him. However, he's sitting on the bubble at 6.790, and is in danger of not qualifying. He picked up a little on this run, with a 6.770 - 203.58 but remained in the #16 spot, nearly a tenth behind the #15 car.

(RIGHT) A Pro Stock rookie in 2022, but not a newcomer to fast cars, Jerry Tucker, in an Elite Motorsports car, has won six rounds of racing, and made the semifinals at Chicago, but he came into this session in the #15 position. He improved four hundredths of a second, to a 6.664 - 206.80, but it wasn't enough to move up on the ladder.

Cristian Caudra - PS --- Fernando Caudra Jr. - PS

(LEFT) One of the young Corral Boots drivers, Cristian Caudra, was sitting in the #8 spot at 6.604, but went backwards on this run, clocking in at 6.657 - 205.01.

(RIGHT) The third member of the team, with the youngest Caudra (David) staying home, Fernanado Jr. broke from the Mustang mold, and is fielding a Camaro this year. Holding the #7 position, just one thousandth of a second quicker than Cristian at 6.603, Fernando slowly slightly to a still very good 6.622 - 205.51, and still in the top half of the field at the end of the session.

Kyle Koretsky - PS --- Camrie Caruso - PS

(LEFT) Young Kyle Koretsky, dubbed "Kid Kaos", tied for the quickest pass of the session with his 6.617 - 206.26 on this pass, but it was a few ticks slower than his #6 qualifying 6.599 e.t. on Saturday.

(RIGHT) Second year Pro Stock racer, Camrie Caruso ran well, but not better, not being able to improve on her earlier 6.605 - 208.97 effort. Her speed on that run was just shy of Matt Hartford's top speed of the meet (to this point) 209.23 mph.

Troy Coughlin Jr. - PS --- Matt Hartford - PS

(LEFT) Hoping to cut just a tick off his previous 6.570 - 208.30 timeslip, Troy Coughlin Jr. fell to the conditions as did nearly everyone else in this session, slowing half a tenth, with a 6.625 - 207.88 pass.

(RIGHT) Coming into the session at the top of the list with a 6.569 - 209.23 best, Matt Hartford slowed six hundredths, with a 6.628 - 206.13 showing on the qualifying sheet. He was still #1 with Coughlin sitting just behind him.

Greg Anderson - PS

Running in the final pair of the session, Greg Anderson needed to break into the 6.50's to bump his way into the top half of the field. His previous best was 6.622 - 206.57, and he went backwards with this run, slowing fractionally with a 6.641 - 205.69 to remain in the #1 position.


FUNNY CAR - Qualifying Session #4


With a bump spot of 4.089, held by Paul Lee as the session began, and just two more chances to improve on their e.t.s's, the two racers sitting outside the field knew they had to make it happen or face the prospect of not racing on Monday. First up in this session was the Funny Car All-Star Shootout, run as part of the 4th and 5th qualifying sessions.

Matt Hagan - FC --- John Force - FC

(LEFT) Running against Tim Wilkerson (not shown), Matt Hagan advanced to the semifinal of the Callout with a solid 3.967 - 320.05 that easily covered Wilkerson's tire-smoking run. Hagan's run wasn't enough to move him up on the ladder, but it was consistent.

(RIGHT) In the final pair of the first round of the Callout, John Force faced Bob Tasca III (not shown). Both cars ran strong until near half track, when Force got way out of shape and shut off, and Tasca shut off, after hazin the tires, at almost the same time. Both cars coasted to the 1000' mark, with Force turning on the winlight by two car lengths with a less than scintillating 6.770 - 94.75 timeslip.

Dave Richards - FC --- Alex Laughlin - FC

(LEFT) The first non-qualified car came out of the lanes next, with Floridian Dave Richards leading the way. His best to this point was a 4.121, less than half a tenth short of the bump spot. He gave it a good try, but the engine gave up just before the finish line, limiting him to a 4.154 - 300..06, that left him one final chance to grab a spot in the field.

(RIGHT) A racer that was fairly confident, sitting in the #13 spot with a 4.048 - 308.28 to his credit, Alex Laughlin pushed the Jim Dunn-tuned entry to a slightly better 4.037 - 307.02 pass but remained in the same position on the ladder.

J.R. Todd - FC

Not part of the Callout "party" J.R. Todd ran last in this session and was on a march before the pipes went wet at the 660' mark and he coasted across the stripe at 4.228 - 226.96. With the car in other lane, Chad Green (not shown), stepping up, they swapped positions on the ladder, with Todd dropping to the #10 spot, based on his earlier 3.955 - 328.78 pass.


TOP FUEL - Qualifying Session #4


Leah Pruett - TF --- Buddy Hull - TF

(LEFT) Starting the session in an unacustomed position, at the front of the lanes, Leah Pruett set the tone with a solid A to B pass at 3.790 - 325.37 that didn't move her up but was consistent with her earlier 3.730 that landed her in the #6 spot on the sheet.

(RIGHT) Running with an action movie inspired theme, Buddy "The Hull'k" clawed his way into the field with a very good 3.823 - 322.65 that elevated him from #17 to the bump spot at #16. And it was his second 3.8-run in a row, a good omen for this team that has struggled at times this season. They've qualified at four out of the five events they've attended, but 30 penalty points, from three oildowns, have dragged them down.

Dan Mercier - TF --- Austin Prock - TF

(LEFT) Sitting at the bottom of the list, in 19th place, was Canada's Dan Mercier with a fairly stout 3.878 - 310.,41 clocking to his credit. The Rob Wendland-tuned ex-Terry McMillen car has qualified at the three races they've run this year, but none of them were Indy. On this pass he lost a cylinder almost immediately and shut off before the half track with a 4.990 - 145.94 showing up on the scoreboard.

(RIGHT) A racer who was safely in the show, but wanting to get into the fast half of the field was Austin Prock. His best so far was a 3.781 - 326.08 that was only good enough for #11 on the ladder. He made a decent run this time, but it was half a tenth slower and didn't change his status.

Spencer Massey - TF --- Spencer Massey - TF

The Commercial Metals machine of Pat Dakin, being driven most of the time by Spencer Massey was a little further down in the pecking order, with a 13th bes 3.795 - 323.04 but like all the other racers, they wanted more. It didn't happen as Spencer puffed the tires at the 330' mark and shut off to a 5.040 e.t.

Josh Hart - TF --- Steve Torrence - TF

(LEFT) Sporting a different look after bannering R+L Carriers for most of the past two years, Josh Hart switched it up to the "Technet" scheme for this race. He came into the session occupying the #8 spot on the ladder, and finished in the same spot. His run started well but a dropped cylinder cut the power output considerably, resulting in a 3.925 - 312.78 showing up on the clocks.

(RIGHT) The top qualifier remained in that lofty position, as Steve Torrence's earlier 3.708 - 329.42 remained the highwater mark for the Top Fuelers. This run lasted about 500 feet before the tires started smoking, causing him to coast to a 4.588 e.t.


FUNNY CAR - All-Star Callout (FINAL)


Robert Hight - FC

While the first two rounds of the 8-car Shootout counted towards qualifying, this final round didn't, but no ladder shattering e.t.'s resulted when Robert Hight and Matt Hagan (not shown) matched up. Hight took a slight .011 lead on the reaction timers, then extended it to a full car length by the finish line. The timers read 3.955 - 321.58 for Hight, while Hagan was close behind at 3.979 - 322.58 in the losing cause.


FUNNY CAR - Qualifying Session #5 (FINAL)


Justin Schriefer - FC --- Justin Schriefer - FC

Paul Lee - FC --- Alex Laughlin - FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Robert Hight - FC --- John Force - FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

J.R. Todd - FC --- Tim Wilkerson - FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Cruz Pedregon - FC --- Ron Capps - FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)


TOP FUEL - Qualifying Session #5 (FINAL)


Spencer Massey - TF --- Spencer Massey - TF

Tony Schumacher - TF --- Tony Schumacher - TF

Austin Prock - TF --- Austin Prock - TF

Josh Hart - TF --- Brittany Force (near lane) vs Mike Salinas (far lane) TF

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Steve Torrence - TF

After starting the event with some crushing performances, Steve Torrence went "oh! for two" today, with back to back tire smokers, this time starting before the 330' timers. Despite those twin setbacks, he still sat atop the field at the conclusion of qualifying, with his best 3.708 - 329.42 setting the pace in a tightly packed field that saw the #16 qualifier, Will Smith, barely a tenth of a second slower at 3.822 and the first alternate, Buddy Hull, just one thousandth slower than him. Even the slowest of the 19 cars entered ran a 3.878 to show the performance levels in Top Fuel.


TOP ALCOHOL FUNNY CAR - Eliminations Round #2


Annie Whiteley (near lane) vs Jim Whiteley (far lane) - TA/FC --- Andy Bohl (near lane) vs Kyle Smith (far lane) - TA/FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Greg Bellemeur (near lane) vs Chip Beverett (far lane) TA/FC --- Doug Gordon (near lane) vs Brian Hough (far lane) TA/FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)


The latest update as of September 3, 2023


Dodge Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals

69th annual DODGE Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals


Yesterday's action at Indy was spectacular, with some great performances in almost every category. We've got Top Alcohol Funny Car and Pro Modified to start today's posting, with lots of fuel cars and more alcohol racers, and even Pro Stock to follow. As always happens on a busy race weekend, captions and details will follow later. Remember to refresh or reload each time you visit this page to see the latest updates.

4:00 PM Update: We've got all of yesterday's photos posted now, but it will be tomorrow before we get much done on the captions. Stay tuned as we fill in the blanks and start uploading photos from today's action at "The Big GO"


TOP ALCOHOL FUNNY CAR - Qualifying Session #3 (FINAL)


Rob Pfeister - TA/FC --- Phil Esz - TA/FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Chip Beverett - TA/FC --- Shane Westerfield - TA/FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Brian Hough - TA/FC --- Annie Whiteley - TA/FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Doug Gordon - TAFC


PRO MODIFIED - Qualifying Session #3


Nick Januik - PM --- Mike Castellana - PM

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Jason Scruggs - PM --- Kevin Rivenbark - PM

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

J.R. Gray - PM --- Mike Thielen - PM

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Dmitry Samurokov - PM --- Jerico Balduf -PM

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Justin Bond - PM


PRO STOCK - Qualifying Session #2


Bo Butner - PS --- Chris McGaha - PS

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Erica Enders - PS --- Deric Kramer - PS

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Dallas Glenn - PS


PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE - Qualifying Session #2


Gaige Herrera - PSM


TOP FUEL - Qualifying Session #2


Buddy Hull - TF --- Spencer Massey - TF

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Clay Millican - TF --- Dan Mercier - TF

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Will Smith - TF --- Doug Foley - TF

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

T.J. Zizzo - TF --- Antron Brown - TF

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)


FUNNY CAR - Qualifying Session #2


Paul Lee - FC --- Tim Wilkerson - FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Terry Haddock - FC --- Matt Hagan - FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

John Force - FC


PRO STOCK - Qualifying Session #3


Mason McGaha - PS --- Bo Butner - PS

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Camrie Caruso - PS --- Dallas Glenn - PS

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Kyle Koretsky - PS


PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE - Qualifying Session #3


Odolph Daniels - PSM --- Wesley Wells - PSM

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

John Hall - PSM --- Hector Arana Jr. - PSM

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Eddie Krawiec - PSM --- John Force crewmember

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)


TOP FUEL - Qualifying Session #3


Doug Foley - TF --- Shawn Langdon - TF

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Clay Millican - TF --- Darrell Gwynn

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

T.J. Zizzo - TF --- Leah Pruett - TF

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Dan Mercier - TF --- Brittany Force - TF

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Antron Brown - TF


FUNNY CAR - Qualifying Session #3


Justin Schriefer - FC --- Alex Lauhglin - FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Dave Richards - FC --- Bobby Bode III - FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Terry Haddock - FC --- Tim Wilkerson - FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Chad Green - FC --- Blake Alexander - FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Robert Hight - FC


The latest update as of September 2, 2023


Mo-Kan Dragway - Funnu Car Chaos

FUNNY CAR CHAOS - Mo-Kan Dragway - Asbury, MO


Qualifying Session #1 (Mo-Kan) & Eliminations Round ONE (Kearney)


Due to the rainout of eliminations at the Kearney, NB race in early July, it was decided to run eliminations for that race as part of qualifying at Mo-Kan. Of the 24 cars that qualified at Kearney, six elected not to attend this event, leading to a number of bye runs in the first round of eliminations. At the end of Friday night, two qualifying sessions and two rounds of eliminations were completed. Today, during the final qualifying session, the final rounds from Kearney will be run, then eliminations for Mo-Kan will happen this evening. The weather forecast looks good, so the penultimate race on the 2023 FCC schedule should be completed as scheduled. NOTE: Captions and details will be added as time permits. They will be finished by tomorrow, but the balance of last night's photos will be posted this evening.

NOTE: The U.S. Nationals coverage is further down the page. Scroll down and you'll find it.


'The Prospector' --- Daniel Butherus - 'Rat-A-Tude' (far lane) vs Matt Nissen - 
'Runnin' Down a Dream' (near lane)

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Aaron Morrow - 'Nitro Relapse' --- Steve Timoszyk - 'Detroit Tiger'

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Mike Newkirk - 'Disturbed' --- Dana Kleinhoffer - 'Tremor'

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Mary Reep - 'Grim Reeper' --- Ronny Young - 'Blue Max'

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Jim Chase - 'Hot Pursuit' --- Jeff Cameron - 'War Machine'

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Keith Zimmerer - 'Penny Pincher 02' --- Jade Cook - 'Nemesis'

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Tom Furches - 'Made In America' --- Michael Neal - 'Burnin' Love'

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Chance Biffle - 'Bad Intentions' --- Roger Eckhert - licensing pass

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)


Qualifying Session #2 (Mo-Kan) & Eliminations Round TWO (Kearney)


Aaron Morrow - 'Nitro Relapse' (near lane) vs 
Joacim Ljungberg - 'Raw Valley' (far lane) --- Jim Chase - 'Hot Pursuit' (near lane) vs 
Michael Neal - 'Burnin' LOve' (far lane)

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Shane Blanton - 'Bad Company' --- Bob Alberty Jr. - Thunderin' Okie' (near lane) vs 
Wayne Hofmann - 'China Syndrome' (far lane)

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Mary Reep - Grim Reeper (near lane) vs 
Steve Timoszyk - 'Detroit Tiger (far lane) --- Alex Barker - 'Back In Black' (near lane) vs 
Howarde Seldon - 'The Proclaimer' (far lane)

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Ronny Young - 'Blue Max' --- Ronny Young - 'Blue Max'

Casey Geeslin - 'The Gambler' (near lane) vs 
Lance Van Hauen - 'VBR Racing' (far lane) --- Mike Newkirk - 'Disturbed'

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Jeff Cameron - 'War Machine' (near lane) vs 
Kirk Williams - '200 Proof' (far lane) --- Shayne Lawson -

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Tom Furches - 'Made In America' (near lane) vs 
Jade Cook - 'Nemesis' (far lane) --- Robin Rish - 'Blown Retirement'

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Jordan Ballew - 'Ballew Thunder' --- Chance Biffle - 'Bad Inentions' (near lane) vs 
Mike Buchanan - 'Hombre' (far lane)

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)


Dodge Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals

69th annual DODGE Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals


Three days done and three more to go at the BIGGEST drag race on the planet. Our Colorado correspondent is burnt, literally and figuratively after two days in the sun at the starting line, but he's promised to hang in there until the end of this event. Here's his work from Friday. Captions will follow as soon as time permits.


TOP ALCOHOL FUNNY CAR


Brian Hough - TA/FC --- Annie Whiteley - TA/FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Doug Gordon - TA/FC --- D.J. Cox

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Ryan Stack - TA/FC


TOP ALCOHOL DRAGSTER


Karen Stalba - A/FD --- Taylor Vetter - B/AD

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Tony Stewart - A/FD --- Tony Stewart - A/FD

Julie Nataas - A/FD --- Madison Payne - A/FD

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)


PRO STOCK


Dallas Glenn - PS


FUNNY CAR


Dale Creasy Jr. - FC --- Bobby Bode III - FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Terry Haddock - FC --- Blake Alexander - FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

John Force - FC --- Tim Wilkerson - FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Chad Green - FC --- Robert Hight - FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Ron Capps - FC --- Ron Capps - FC

Ron Capps - FC


TOP FUEL


Will Smith - TF --- T. J. Zizzo - TF

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Doug Foley - TF --- Dan Mercier - TF

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Doug Kalitta - TF --- Clay Millican - TF

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Mike Salinas - TF --- Josh Hart - TF

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Antron Brown - TF --- Justin Ashley - TF

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)


The latest update as of September 1, 2023


Dodge Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals

69th annual DODGE Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals


We're starting our U.S. Nationals coverage with some Super Stock shots, then move into Competition Eliminator. We'll be adding heaps more photos over the next four days, so stay tuned to this page and keep checking back regularly as we add more content.


Pete Peery - FGT/E --- Chris Hall - FSS/C

(LEFT) Even though it says Kyle Ratcliffe or DAD on the door, Drag Race Central lists this '05 Pontiac Sunfire as being driven by Pete Peery. It's competing in the FGT/E (don't ask me what that class stands for) and qualified in the upper half of the Super Stock at #52 with a best of 8.894 on a 10.00 index.

(RIGHT) One of the Factory Super Stock cars, this '18 Camaro, driven by Chris Hall landed in the #50 spot on the list with a very quick 8.637 at more than 150 mph.

Bill Zaskowski - GT/L --- Zach Running - GT/DA

(LEFT) Sportsman racers aren't always too serious (unlike their PRO counterparts). A good example is Bill "The Polock" Zaskowski, with the name on the door of his '66 Chevy II, running in the GT/L class. With a 10.053 on the 10.85 index, he was nearly eight tenths under, but only #105 on the ladder.

(RIGHT) With 139 cars entered in Super Stock eliminator, and "only" 128 spots on the ladder, some racers had to go home with qualifying. One of them was this high-flying '85 Olds Cutlass of Zack Running, who ran slightly more than half a second under his 10.00 index, with a 9.492 pass, that just wasn't able to crack the -.671 bubble.

Craig Bourgeois - A/ND --- Ryan Priddy A/AA

(LEFT) A great example of old-school dragster racing is the A/ND nostalgia dragster of Louisiana's Craig Bourgeois that runs well into the 6-second zone, with a best of 6.837 - 188.00. That placed him #21 on the list, well into the top half of the field.

(RIGHT) Defending world champion in Comp Eliminator, Rayn Priddy, ran 6.516 - 213.64 in his 2018 Camaro. The run was nearly six tenths under the A/AA index.

Brad Plourd - AA/AM --- Rick Brown B/TA

(LEFT) One of the nastiest looking cars in the category, the AA/AM of transplanted Washingtonian Brad Plourd (now residing in Alabama), wheeled the '23 T to a 6.46 - 207.30 to sit in the lower half of the very tough field of 61 cars.

(RIGHT) An orphan from the ill-fated Pro Stock Truck class, the '00 Chevy S-10 B/TA of Rick Brown clocked an 8.248 - 162.57 after this wheels-up launch. The run put him #27 on the qualifying list.

Andrew Holt - I/D --- Brian Stufflebeam A/EA

(LEFT) This is certainly a "one-off" as the turbocharged 4-cylinder Honda engine in Andrew Holt's I/Dragster cranked out a super impressive 6.505 - 204.29. That put him #3 on the ladder, nearly two thirds of a second under the 7.17 class index.

(RIGHT) One of the quicker econo altereds, the A/EA of Brian Stufflebeam pulls the wheel up enroute to a 7.297 - 180.77 in the '23 Model T roadster.

Matt Forbes - H/EA --- Brian Seibenick - F/DA

(LEFT) A rather unique looking '32 Bantam with a carbureted 4-cylinder engine, the H/EA of Matt Forbes posted a 9.199 on his 9.56 index.

(RIGHT) Running in the F/DA class, Brian Seibenick sat near the bottom of the qualifying list in the #54 spot with an 8.545 best that was barely two tenths under the index.

Steve Szupka - C/DA

One of the hard running dragsters, this one being the C/DA Spitzer-chassied machine of Steve Szupka qualifed in the #6 spot in the 61-car field with a very quick 6.920 - 190.75 best.

It';s time for the HEMI Challenge racers now, as the "race within a race" qualifies the quickest Factory Suoer Stock cars from the famous 1968 Dodge Darts and Plymnouth Barracudas. There's been some great competition within this group over the years, but with the cost of racing ever increasing, and in this case, nearing the $1 million mark to be a serious player, the ranks are starting to thin a bit. Nonetheless, there's 14 cars competing here for the serious bragging rights that go the winner.

Cleve Stewart - SS/AH

Pulling the front wheels up in a classic launch pose, Cleve Stewart clocked in at 9.048 - 146.23, well down the list from the top runners, but still looking good and running hard.

James Daniels Jr. - SS/AH --- Jim Pancake - SS/AH

(LEFT) One of the heaviest of the heavy hitters is the Ray Barton Racing Engines powered '68 Dart of James Daniels Jr.. He won this event four times in succession, from 2016 through 2019. He's aiming to get back into the winners circle this weekend and with an 8.398 - 157.65 on the boards, he's defintely in contention, starting eliminations from the #2 spot on the ladder.

(RIGHT) Sitting just one notch below Daniels on the qualifying sheet is longtime competitor, Jim Pancake, also driving a Dart. His best of 8.418 - 158.46 has him right there in the hunt for his first win in this iconic event.

We've simply run out of time this morning to properly arrange and caption the following photos, but they will be completed this evening, just in time for the next batch of photos, from today's action to start arriving.

Tim Seymour - FSS/D - '16 Camaro --- Ron Terrel - GT/LA - '88 Camaro

(LEFT) Coming all the way from San Dimas, CA, Tim Seymour's '16 Camaro, running in FSS/D broke into the 8-second zone, with a strong 8.992 on the 9.90 index. That put him #74 in the 128-car qualified field.

(RIGHT) Sitting near the top of a very long (139 cars) list, Ron Terrell's GT/LA '88 Camaro landed in the #8 position on the final qualifying order, with a best of 9.771 on the 11.05 class index.

Duane Hoven - GT/QA - '71 Maverick --- Sterling Simmons - GT/FA - '05 Cavalier

(LEFT) Running slightly more than one second under the 11.75 index, Duane Hoven pushed his '71 Maverick to a 10.740 and the 51st spot on the ladder.

(RIGHT) Another wheels up launch, as all the Super Stocks do, Sterling Simmons launches his GT/FA '05 Cavalier to a 9.353 (10.25 index), placing him #76 on the ladder.

Joel Warren - SS/JA - '98 Firebird --- Joe Tysinger - GT/NA - '87 Firebird

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Steve Schneider - T/D --- Chad Taylor - T/D

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Ross Laris - T/D --- Curt Fredrich - T/S - '68 Camaro

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Paul Mitsos - T/S - '23 Camaro --- Andy Kronenbiter - GT/CA

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Greg Kamplain - C/EA --- Brad Plourd - AA/AM

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Craig Bourgeois - A/ND --- Jason Coan - C/EA

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Jeff Taylor - B/AP - '08 Cobalt --- Cali Neff - J/DA

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Taylor Chomiski - PST --- Christopher Menapace - T/D

(LEFT) It's a '99 Chevy S-10 Pro Stock Truck (running in Comp), that Taylor Chomiski ran to a 7.482, more than half a second under the 8.00 index, but only good enough for the #35 spot on the 64-car elimination ladder.

(RIGHT) There's got to be quite a story behind this "tribute" car, as Christopher Menapace has faithfully recreated the look of a very well known Top Alcohol Dragster from the past. With Specialty Fasteners as the primary sponsor, (Jerry) Darien & Meadows as the owenrs, and even (Gary) Scelzi on the cowl, as the driver, it's a perfect reproduction. And it certainly runs too, with a 6.197 - 223.99 pass after two rounds of Top Dragster qualifying.

Chad Taylor - T/D

Another Top Dragster, this one driven by South Carolina's Chad Taylor is precariously perched on the bubble of the 32-car field, with a best of 6.527 - 203.43 going into today's final qualifying session.


To see previous updates, go to the What's Old page

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